Drugs that treat Parkinson's help to restore dopamine levels in the brain and dopamine is also known to play a part in the function of the retina. Diabetic retinopathy damages the blood vessels in the eyes and restoring the dopamine levels in diabetic patients may help improve vision. Using diabetic mice, researchers at Emory University in Atlanta treated the rodents with a compound that kills insulin-producing cells. The compound that they used was a dopamine-precursor used in treating Parkinson's patients called L-DOPA. Researchers discovered that after treatment, the mice had a delay in their vision loss by weeks and also had a decrease in the severity of vision problems. While additional research is needed, researchers are encouraged by these initial findings and hope that further study will lead to more effective treatments of diabetic retinopathy.
Parkinson's drug for treating diabetic retinopathy?
- by Dr. Paul Krawitz
- 17 February, 2014