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Fuchs dystrophy linked to free radical damage

Almost 4 percent of the population over the age of 60 suffers from Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD) which is an eye disease that can cause vision loss due to epithelial cell death in the cornea. A study published in the American Journal of Pathology identifies free radicals as the culprits behind the development of this disease. While genetic factors are linked to FECD, the mechanisms behind the disease have previously been unknown. This study reveals that free radicals play a? role in its development. In the study, corneal epithelial tissue samples from FECD patients who had received corneal transplants were compared to samples from? patients who did not have FECD. What researchers discovered was a decrease in the level of antioxidants in the majority of FECD samples and an increase in DNA damage. FECD is the most common reason for corneal transplants. This discovery will help researchers determine how free radicals are involved and what antioxidants will be most effective in fighting them and an appropriate protocol can be developed that will help protect the cornea.* Elise Ervin Staff Writer

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