Science Briefs – Edition 18

What's Inside

  • Two separate eye diseases work together to cause AMD.
  • Some with glaucoma don't know they have the disease.
  • How blind people know when it's time to sleep or eat without light.
  • And, about a dozen more articles about the science, medicine and preventing blindness from all over the world.

Editorial By Chris Hofstader

Welcome to edition 18 of Science Briefs. This edition has more than a dozen stories about a wide variety of different aspects of blindness and we hope you find them interesting.

In this edition, the article I found most interesting is the one about the scientists at Oregon State University making what could be a profound advancement in the treatment of heredity blindness. They are using techniques similar to those in the MRNA vaccines used for COVID-19. If this technique works in the future, it will be a major game changer for people with hereditary eye diseases and may even lead to a cure.


World Blind herald does not write the stories to which we link in Science Briefs, we gather them, curate them and bring them to our readers. We are not scientists ourselves and cannot guarantee the validity of the stories in this digest. We do, however, want to be very clear that you should not attempt any of the medical interventions mentioned in Science Briefs without first consulting a professional ophthalmologist and discussing it with them. Do not take medical advice from this or any other web site or podcast without first consulting a professional.

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Science and Medicine

Over One-Quarter of Adults Age 71 and Older Have Vision Impairment

Olivia J. Killeen, M.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues used data from the 2021 National Health and Aging Trends Study to present updated national epidemiological estimates of VI and blindness in older U.S. adults. Data were included for 3,026 individuals (29.5 percent aged 71 to 74 years; 55.2 percent female). This story comes to us from: KXLY.

Two separate eye diseases may contribute to common blinding eye condition

Two separate eye diseases may contribute to age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of blindness in the United States, according to a new study from New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai. This story comes to us from: ScienceDaily.

Subretinal Fluid May Protect Against Macular Atrophy in Eyes with nAMD

New research yielded strong evidence that subretinal fluid (SRF) protected against the development of subfoveal and extrafoveal macular atrophy (MA) in eyes with neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD) over a 5-year period. This story comes to us from: HCPLive.

Genetic eye disease leaves young brothers from Sibley legally blind

Editor: I had some trouble navigating this site.

A year ago, brothers Andrew Larson and Lincoln Croatt of Sibley were typical young boys who loved to play soccer and baseball, ride their bikes to the swimming pool and go to the movies. This story comes to us from: Worthington Globe.

Listen: Glaucoma can cause blindness, but people don't always know they have it

January is Glaucoma Awareness Month. In the latest installment of our conversations with Fort Worth newsmakers, Dr. Sai Chavala, an ophthalmologist in Fort Worth and a professor of surgery at the Burnett School of Medicine at TCU, discusses glaucoma — what it is, who’s vulnerable and how to prevent it. This story comes to us from: Fort Worth Report.

Podcast: How blind people time sleep and eating without the light-driven circadian clock

Next in our science series Finding Time, Ari Daniel talks to a man who stays in sync with the sun even though he has been blind for years. This story comes to us from: Genetic Literacy Project.

Type 1 diabetes: Maintaining the enzyme ACE2 in the gut prevents diabetic blindness

Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in American adults. The source of this damage may lie in the belly — mainly a leaky small intestine. A novel treatment can possibly prevent or reverse this damage. This story comes to us from: EurekAlert.

Lenses created that can prevent blindness in the elderly

American scientists from Purdue University have created contact lenses for early diagnosis of glaucoma, the second most common cause of blindness. This story comes to us from: Medicine.

Obesity linked to macular degeneration

A Canadian study published in the journal Science elucidates a new molecular mechanism that may cause age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The research at Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosement, in Montreal, shows how life stressors such as obesity reprogram immune system cells and make them destructive to the eye as it ages. This story comes to us from: ScienceDaily.

Researchers take key step toward new treatment for hereditary blindness

Oregon State University College of Pharmacy scientists have demonstrated in animal models the possibility of using lipid nanoparticles and messenger RNA, the technology underpinning COVID-19 vaccines, to treat blindness associated with a rare genetic condition. This story comes to us from: ScienceDaily.

Leona Zacharias Helped Solve a Blindness Epidemic among Premature Babies. She Received Little Credit

Scientist Leona Zacharias was a rare woman. She graduated from Barnard College in 1927 with a bachelor’s degree in biology, followed by a Ph.D. from Columbia University. But throughout her career, she labored behind men with loftier titles who got the bulk of the credit. In the 1940s, when premature newborns were going blind after being born with perfectly healthy eyes, Zacharias was part of the team that worked to root out the cause. This story comes to us from: Scientific American.

Woman claims taking birth control made her go blind

Editor: This story is precisely why we have the disclaimer at the top of each edition of Science Briefs. It comes from a publication not known for science reporting and its primary source is a TickTock video.

Various side effects come when taking medications. In the case of birth control, women typically deal with hormonal changes. A big one is their body type and weight changes. When Latto gained weight, fans made fun of her for using birth control, so she stopped. However, Latto got off light in comparison to this woman on TikTok. She shared a video detailing how she went blind, due to using contraceptives. This story comes to us from: Hip Hop Vibe.

Preventing Blindness

Research to Prevent Blindness awards annual grant for unrestricted use to School of Medicine

The Wayne State University School of Medicine will once again receive a $115,000 unrestricted grant from Research to Prevent Blindness to support eye research conducted by the Department of Ophthalmology, Visual and Anatomical Sciences. This story comes to us from: Today@Wayne – Wayne State University.


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