Genetic methods

The advancement of new technologies such as next-generation sequencing is rapidly facilitating the discovery of genes responsible for several inherited eye disease. This is an essential and important step toward the development of clinically useful gene-based diagnostic tests and therapies too.

Hereditary retinal dystrophies can cause progressive vision loss. The current available therapies are limited to visual rehabilitation. Although there are several fields of research that offer hope of vision restoration to visually impaired.

Targeting the retina with optogenetic approach promise to revolutionize ophthalmology by using light to manipulate neural activity in genetically or functionally defined neurons. Optogenetics uses light to control genetically targeted groups of neural cells. This approach uses light sensors to induce some cells to become reactive to light. Optogenetics has a main advantage over other methods that it is able to better target the cell populations of interest.

According to the literature there are several different strategies being used to repair vision using optogenetics, all of which have various strengths and weaknesses. The preclinical work appears to be promising.