Australia's Leading Ophthalmic Magazine Since 1975

     Free Sign Up     

Australia's Leading Ophthalmic Magazine Since 1975

     Free Sign Up     
Research

Unhealthy diet shown to affect sight later in life

02/05/2019
Share:
Researchers from the University of Southampton have found that an unhealthy diet and poor nutrition could cause damage to retinal pigment epithelial cells (RPE) and eventually lead to vision loss.

The study also exposed a potential new treatment technique for eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by recovering these cells.

“Although the effects of poor nutrition in eye health have been studied in large populations, how this actually brings about disease-causing changes in retinal cells is less well understood,” study lead Dr Arjuna Ratnayaka, a lecturer in Vision Sciences at the University of Southampton’s School of Medicine, said.

The research looked into how disease-causing pathways resulting from poor nutrition could impact RPE cells. In particular, researchers determined how RPE cells process the by-products generated by the daily activities of photoreceptors through the cells’ waste disposal system, which terminates in small vesicles known as lysosomes.

Dr Ratnayaka found that healthy RPE cells had a considerable degree of flexibility to cope with changing conditions in the aging eye, whereas a high-fat diet can disrupt this breakdown process in RPE cells and cause long term damage, leading to vision loss.

“We also found that some lysosomes appeared to remain undamaged even in such stressed RPE, suggesting an altogether new way in which damaged cells could be rescued to prevent eventual sight-loss,” Dr Ratnayaka said.

“As our results showed how the waste disposal system of the RPE becomes damaged by unhealthy diet-driven disease pathways, our next step is to find out whether this type of damage can be reversed through better nutrition and if stressed or damaged RPE cells can possibly be rescued. Potential new therapies developed along these lines could offer new treatments for some AMD patients.” The study was funded by the Macular Society and the findings were published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research.

large leaderboard
advertisement





rectangle
advertisement
Editor's Suggestion
Hot Stories

GLAUKOS
advertisement


OR
 

Subscribe for Insight in your Inbox

Get Insight with the latest in industry news, trends, new products, services and equipment!