Researchers Develop Test to Pinpoint Transition in Degenerative Eye Disease
Approximately 20% of patients diagnosed with dry age-related macular degeneration develop the wet form, which leads to irreversible eye damage and eventual blindness. While the dry form can be diagnosed during an eye exam, there is currently no test that identifies the conversion from dry to wet. Per past studies, endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) are elevated in the blood stream when new blood vessels form, a mechanism of disease for wet ARMD. Sai Chavala and colleagues developed a blood test to identify EPC levels in wet and dry ARMD patients with automated rare cell analysis (ARCA). Their results reported in PLOSOne show that the ARCA test might predict this transition to wet ARMD in dry ARMD patients.