Cats and Low Vision

October 29, 2016

The following is from the Albuquerque Journal:

Q: I have friends that have macular degeneration. One is legally blind. I have read internet articles telling that cats can carry the parasite Toxoplasma gondii.

One of them states that toxoplasmosis is the most common cause of eye inflammation in the world. Could this be causing the eye problems that our long-term cat owner friends have?

Dr. Nichol: Toxoplasmosis is a zoonotic disease, meaning that it is transmissible between animals and humans. It’s caused by a single-celled protozoan parasite that can infect any warm-blooded mammal but cats are its definitive host.

I sent your question to human ophthalmologist Dr. Jesse Swift.

The good doctor’s comments: “Toxoplasmosis is a common parasite that usually does not affect healthy individuals. It can, however, affect those that are immunosuppressed due to cancer treatment, HIV/AIDS, or other reasons. It can also affect the fetus in a pregnant woman. The children that contract congenital toxoplasmosis can develop hearing loss, mental disability, and blindness. In fact, toxoplasmosis is a leading cause of blindness especially in underdeveloped countries. It is also a leading cause of uveitis or eye inflammation in both children and adults. In those that are immunosuppressed it can cause life threatening encephalitis.”

Another human ophthalmologist, Dr. Stephen Saxe, was also kind enough to weigh in. “Toxoplasmosis and age-related macular degeneration are both diseases that can affect the retina and the macula (the anatomical visual center of the retina). They both can cause inflammation and scarring in the retina. However, toxoplasmosis and age-related macular degeneration are two separate diseases caused by two completely different mechanisms.”


Book Scanning Facility

October 22, 2016

The following is from Lauren Tappan


“Duke University East Campus Library now has the Book Eye 4.
You do not have to be a Duke student to use this
AT equipment.
  You put a book on their scanner and you can scan
this written material to a USB thumb drive or send it
to an e-mail address.
  Quick and easy to use.”

Book > 100 Questions & Answers About Macular Degeneration

October 4, 2016

100 Questions & Answers About Macular Degeneration

Whether you’re a newly diagnosed patient, or a friend or relative of someone suffering with macular degeneration, this book offers guidance and support

This book provides authoritative, practical answers to commonly asked questions about this condition to help you better understand all aspects of dealing with macular degeneration including treatment options, sources of support, and much more. It’s an invaluable resource for anyone coping with the disease’s physical and emotional turmoil.

For more info:

Potential Treatment for RP and AMD

October 4, 2016

New research published in Cell Reports identifies a potential treatment target for blinding diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa and advanced dry age-related macular degeneration. In the study, researchers at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine explored how the retina’s photoreceptors — the rods and cones responsible for detecting light, color, contrast, and sharpness — are damaged over the course of these diseases.

Lin, Apte and colleagues at Washington Univ. found that defects in the same NAD pathway appear to be involved in several different diseases of the retina. When they treated damaged photoreceptor cells in mice with a second molecule called NMN — a precursor molecule that boosts levels of NAD — the cells’ degeneration ceased and vision was restored.

“This is exciting because we may have found a reason why these highly metabolically active cells are susceptible to damage and death when the NAD pathway does not function optimally,” said Apte, also a professor of developmental biology and neuroscience and of medicine.

The pathway offers a promising target for therapies for multiple retinal diseases, including retinitis pigmentosa, a cause of blindness that impairs vision over many years and for which there is currently no cure.

for more info:

Genetics usually the cause of macular degeneration

October 4, 2016

Genetics play a big role on those who end up with macular degeneration, an eye disease that leads to vision loss.

Vitreoretinal specialist Dr. Mandi D. Conway with Arizona Retinal Specialists in Sun City West said caucasians have a genetic disposition to macular degeneration. In contrast, Hispanics, Native Americans, African Americans or Asians have a lower risk.

However, diet may play an important role in getting macular degeneration Ms. Conway noted. Based on studies, she said some believe that fatty acids on the liver that metabolize have an affect on the retina.

It is also suggested that the blue light emitted from the sun can be a cause of macular degeneration, therefore, Ms. Conway recommends people always wear sunglasses outdoors to help lower the risk.

For more info: