Potential link between Parkinson’s disease and visual problems
Wednesday, March 13 2013 | 00 h 00 min | News
The genetic cause of Parkinson’s disease could also affect vision, according to a new study from scientists at the University of York, in Great Britain.
The researchers have established a link between a genetic mutation that triggers Parkinson’s disease and visual problems in a Drosophila (a fruit fly). The visual system of the Drosophila contains amounts of dopamine that are similar to what is found in the human eye, which makes it a common lab model.
Using an electroretinogram, they found a loss of function in the optic nerve cells with the mutant gene. They also found that other genetic mutations linked to Parkinson’s disease did not affect the optic nerve or cause any vision loss.
According to research director Dr. Chris Elliott, this is “a significant step forward as it will help to identify those people with Parkinson’s who may be at greater risk of changes in their vision.” He adds that people have to get away from the idea that this condition only affects movements, and understand that it also affects vision.