Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Developing an eye drop to save sight

A UCC research team is figuring out ways to strengthen ailing eye cells that could prevent blindness in later life.

Approx 60,000 people in Ireland suffer from eye degeneration, failing vision and eventual blindness and it can have a debilitating impact on their quality of life. That's why scientists in Cork are seeking to beef up ailing eye cells and halt degeneration in a number of eye diseases. There's a whole gamut of different diseases, like retinitis pigmentosa [ RP], age-related macular degeneration [ AMD] and glaucoma, and they lead to blindness," says Tom Cotter, professor of biochemistry at University College Cork (UCC). "There are very few treatments for these conditions, and you are losing one of your five senses." The cells die through a suicidal implosion called apoptosis, a process that Cotter's group has studied for more than 15 years.

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