How Eye Health Is Influenced by Overall Health

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People speak of the eye as a window into the body and so to the extent that people engage in unhealthy behaviors or fail to correct easily correctable medical abnormalities, those are things that have an enormous influence on the eye. The leading cause to blindness is macular degeneration and the wet form responds extremely well.

95% of patients respond to anti VEGF therapy. We've made enormous, enormous strides in macular degeneration in the last eight to 10 years, just breathtaking. As I said, I think we've really moved from those being irreversible universally blinding diseases to being very treatable.

What we like to do is to essentially avoid the need to ever have to operate on anyone and or anyone to even develop the disease, that's the goal standard is to essentially engage in preventive medicine, some drugs will get us there. The first thing we tell people is just to get healthy, lose weight, make sure that your sugars are as normal as they can be, make sure your blood pressure is normal and don't smoke cigarettes.

People, who do those three things, the risk of vision loss later in life falls down dramatically. I think the things that are really exciting in ophthalmology, in a way the eyes in a specially rich and right target for laser therapy and the reason is that the eye's designed for there to be light transmission of images to the back of the eye and for them to be converted actually to vision by travelling to the brain.

So because the eye is so optimized for light transmission, because lasers are all about light transmission, the eyes is the ideal target to use lasers in. Lasers are orders of magnitude safer than they used to be. We now have the so called NC Standards American national safety, specify how much power, how much energy a laser can have, which length it is.

What we are seeing with lasers now is increased precision and safety. Classic gene therapy is pretty straight forward. It's been around, we've understood it for a long time and that is the idea that you identify a gene that's defective. Presumably, it produces either a defective protein or it doesn't secrete a protein at all.

And patients develop very severe diseases. So retina [xx] especially the more severe cases in the teenage years, twenties or thirties. The idea that you could identify that gene and replace that gene, that's been, it's kind of been the Holy Grail.