Prevention of Blindness and Visual Impairment

Priority eye diseases


Genetic eye diseases

Definition

Genetic eye diseases include a large number of ocular pathologies which have in common the transmission from parents to children by their genetic inheritance. All do not cause visual impairment.

Magnitude

Knowledge about genetic eye diseases has increased dramatically during the last twenty years. Although there are no global statistics which let us know the extent of the burden of visual impairment from genetic causes, it does seem that genetic eye pathology represents a significant percentage of the causes of blindness in industrialized countries.

Prevention and treatment

The only current means of prevention of genetic eye pathology is genetic counselling. Treatment of genetic eye disorders is largely experimental, with the exception of surgeries on the cornea, lens and vitreous, which are well-documented in certain cases. The best hopes for treatment, however, lie in the use of gene therapy, growth promotion therapies for degenerative diseases, and possibly the grafting of retinal cells.

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