Prevent Blindness observes inherited retinal disease genetic testing week May 16-22

Prevent Blindness dedicates the third week of May to raising awareness of the benefit of genetic testing, variety of retinal diseases, and available resources.

Prevent Blindness observes inherited retinal disease genetic testing week May 16-22

Prevent Blindness announces the second annual “Inherited Retinal Disease (IRD) Genetic Testing Week” from May 16 to 22, 2021. The non-profit will use this week to post educational content related to the topic to its social channels—Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

IRDs are a unit of diseases that affect patients of all ages, and they may lead to severe vision loss or blindness. Because many are degenerative, genetic testing may help identify treatment options early in the process. Once the genetic cause is identified, care teams can identify additional at-risk organs, and patients can inform family members of their genetic risk.

Related: Inherited retinal disease: Gene therapy ushers new era

Thanks to the retina’s physical makeup, patients with IRD are strong candidates for gene therapy treatments.1 In addition to being small and easily accessible, the eye is considered to be “immune privileged,” meaning the normal immune response is not as active. In this case, suppressed immune reaction reduces that chance of the body rejecting a corrected gene.

Related: How gene therapy clinical trials are addressing retinal diseases at the core

Though gene therapy is not a cure for IRDs, it can control disease progression. This is especially helpful for at-risk children and infants.

“By encouraging the public to educate themselves about IRDs and the positive impact that genetic testing may have on their health, we hope to save sight for patients in the near term and throughout their lives,” Jeff Todd, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness, said.

Related: Investigators target intravitreal injections of allogeneic human retinal progenitor cells to treat RP

For additional information, visit the IRD page on the Prevent Blindness website. In addition to a free IRD fact sheet, the webpage details possible causes, risk factors, research and therapy options, financial assistance services, and other helpful material.

1. Inherited Retinal Diseases. ASGCT. Published October 22, 2020. Accessed May 14, 2021.

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