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research-and-clinical-trials

Research snapshot: UMN researchers develop unique method to analyze oxidative DNA damage in age-related macular degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness among older adults in the developed world. To better understand the mechanisms of AMD to hopefully one day prevent and treat it, researchers in the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health and the Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Neurosciences have developed a unique method for analyzing oxidative damage in tiny amounts of DNA from the human eye. Results of the study were recently published in Scientific Reports.

Led by Irina Stepanov, Ph.D., assistant professor in the School of Public Health and Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, the team used a highly sensitive method that can detect specific oxidative modifications in DNA. They used this method to analyze mitochondrial DNA from retinal pigment epithelium, a single cell layer from eye tissues, and compared results between samples that came from healthy eyes and those with age-related macular degeneration.

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expert-perspectives

U of M expert: The importance of contact lens care

Everyone skimps on hygiene now and then – contact lenses included. People are too lazy to buy new contact solution, too busy to clean them properly or too forgetful to take them out before bed.

But each time these cleaning steps are skipped or forgotten, it exposes eyes to bacteria that could lead to keratitis, the inflammation of the cornea.

The cornea is the eye’s clear, dome-shaped, outermost layer, which protects the eyes and acts as the primary focusing power in vision. It’s also one of the most sensitive parts of the body, said Sara Downes, O.D., an instructor of ophthalmology at the University of Minnesota and provider at the Minnesota Lions Children’s Eye Clinic.

“The main risk factor for keratitis is wearing contact lenses and having poor contact lens hygiene,” Downes said.

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expert-perspectives

Expert perspective: Dr. Michael Page on cataracts

To commemorate Cataract Awareness Month, Health Talk sat down with Michael Page, M.D., associate professor in the Medical School’s Department of Ophthalmology, to better understand the common, yet treatable condition that affects so many Americans.

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