Scientists now have a better understanding about the role a certain protein plays in proper eye function, reported NewsOk.
An online article noted that the finding, which came following a collaborative effort between scientists at Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation and Deen McGee Eye Institute, could lead to advancements in grasping and treating eye conditions such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy.
According to the article, the project looked at the role caveolin-1, a protein, plays in the eye ailment situation.
Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation scientist Dr. Rheal Towner said in the article that, while research focusing on numerous ocular ailments points to caveolin-1, a minimal amount of work has gone into seeing how this protein specifically impacts proper eye function. Dr. Towner was part of the team that worked along with scientists at the Dean McGee Eye Institute on the research, according to the article.
Meanwhile, the article cited Michael Elliot, Ph.D., project leader and part of Deen McGee Eye Institute, as saying that the collaborating scientists were shocked at what they discovered after, one, taking away the gene responsible for making caveolin-1 and, two, studying mice that didn’t have the protein.
According to Dr. Elliot, the scientists has assumed that the protein might potentially have a direct impact on the retina. However, they came to realize that the caveolin-1 appears to control the sphere in which the retina resides. The proper environment is critical for ideal function, he said in the article, adding that the protein could be beneficial therapeutically speaking for fixing some ailments that relate to eye structure.
In other news, eye conditions such as AMD disproportionately impact the elderly, and recent reports have indicated that the problem will get worse as age expectancies go up due to advancements in modern medicine. Some experts believe that people can drastically reduce their risks of getting AMD, or at least slow down the rate at which it progresses, by paying closer attention to their diet. People who eat lots of fish with omega-3 fatty acids, citrus fruits and leafy green produce can lower their eye disease risks.