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The eyes have it when it comes to macular degeneration Special To The Star-news | Thu, Jun 03 2010 04:32 PM

Scientists now have a few more genetic clues about a leading cause of visual impairment and blindness in older Americans - age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

That's because a large scale collaborative study, supported by the National Eye Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, has identified three new genes associated with this eye disease - two playing a role in the cholesterol pathway in the eye.

AMD gradually destroys sharp, central vision. Central vision is needed for seeing objects clearly and for common daily tasks such as reading and driving. The results of the study were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Paul A. Sieving, M.D., Ph.D., NEI director, said, "This study increases our understanding of DNA variations that predict individual risks of AMD and provides clues for developing effective therapies.""

For more information about AMD, visit www.nei.nih.gov/ health or call (301) 496-5248.

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