Protecting damaged blood vessels in the back of the eye

Professor Reinhold Medina, Queen’s University Belfast - £242,783

Blood vessels in the eye play a vital role in carrying oxygen and nutrients to the retina and especially the macula, which requires high levels of oxygen. Those with dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) appear to have more damage in these blood vessels. This work aims to understand why this is and to test whether, if we can stop this damage, we can stop the progression of AMD.

What is the problem?

Blood vessels in the eye, called the choriocapillaris, naturally become damaged with age. In patients with dry AMD there is increased damage to the choriocapillaris, however we do not know whether this damage is as a result of AMD or is the cause of AMD.

What are they doing?

This project aims to test whether ageing in these blood vessels leads to the progression of dry AMD, and if so, whether treatments to slow ageing could slow or stop dry AMD. By better understanding the role of ageing in the blood vessels and why they are more damaged in those with dry AMD, we can hopefully find new ways of stopping this damage.

How can this help?

This work will help identify and test new drugs for treating dry AMD, which can slow or stop ageing of the blood vessels. If successful, this could lead to clinical studies to further test these new therapy targets.