World Patient Safety Day – 17 September 2023

Article category: Events .
September 16, 2023
Alert: Protect Your Vision

Retina South Africa is dedicated to bringing clinical trials for retinal vision loss to South Africa and ensuring accredited treatments emanating from these trials are accessible to all South Africans.

Retinal Degeneration [RD] is a slow and complicated process involving many cells in the Retina and a wide diversity of genetic causes, age of onset, rate of vision loss and a gross lack of knowledge about the conditions. There are very few approved treatments – one expensive gene therapy for LCA, a rare, early onset type of RD, and eye injections for one type of Age Related Macular Degeneration.

This scenario is an ideal breeding ground for sharks and charlatans to peddle their so called “treatments or clinical trials” to a vulnerable and desperate patient group. Over the years we have seen transcorneal electrical stimulation, bee stings, vitamins , acu puncture, acu pressure, and huge numbers of supplements offered as a ‘cure’ for these genetic and age related conditions. 

Researchers concur that oxidative stress does play a role in the progression of these diseases but the indiscriminate use of supplements is unwise. Generally speaking, a healthy diet rich in vegetables, fruit, oily fish, legumes and plant based proteins will provide all the anti – oxidants that are needed for healthy vision. Exercise, protection from screen overexposure and a good night’s sleep are basic health requirements that too many people neglect in our busy world.

On the other hand, smoking, obesity, high BMI, high cholesterol, high sugar and high alcohol consumption and overexposure to Ultraviolet light are all significant risk factors.

Some of these conditions are genetically inherited but our epigenetics are also influenced by these risk factors. This recently discovered part of our genetic structure can influence the genetic expression and slow the rate of vision loss.

While online media can lead patients to accredited and responsible sources of good information what you read online is not always true. No patients are charged for inclusion in a clinical trial and all treatments offered online should be thoroughly investigated. Ask your Eye Specialist before you embark on any supplement or “alternate” therapy. 

Stem Cell Therapy promises great hope in the future for growing new retinal cells but is years away from becoming a reality.

Retina South Africa publishes accredited and factual information on all aspects of retinal vision loss.

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