Macular degeneration is a leading cause of blindness for those over the age of 60. There is currently no cure for macular degeneration, but treatments are available that can help slow down disease progression. Furthermore, Canadian researchers now suggest that genetic testing may pinpoint which treatments are best for individuals to help slow down macular degeneration.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) occurs slowly, so people may not even notice changes to their vision until they undergo an eye exam. In AMD, the macula becomes damage – the light-sensitive cells at the center of the retina at the back of the eye. As a result, the ability to see detail while looking straight, reading, or being able to drive or watch TV becomes hindered.
The more delayed treatment is the higher the risk of blindness.
Risk factors for AMD include smoking, hypertension, a family history, and being older in age.
AMD may run in families based on genetics, which is what makes the genetic test successful. Researchers suggest that with genetic testing, they may be able to determine a person’s risk of going blind and it only involves a swab of the cheek.
The test is known as Macula Risk PGx, and it’s believed to be over 90 percent accurate at determining which patients will develop vision loss as a result of AMD. This could make the difference of seeing some patients twice a year to more frequently based on their risk.
A complimenting test known as Vita Risk can help narrow in on which vitamins would benefit patients in protecting their vision.
Some critics suggest that this type of testing isn’t beneficial, as it lacks data, but the researchers suggest it offers more personalized-based treatment.
As of now, this type of test isn’t covered by insurance companies, so you will have to pay for it. But for those who believe it is worth it, it could buy them more years of vision.
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