A new test could be used to diagnose the condition of blind people undergoing surgery or undergoing cosmetic surgery and can provide a clearer picture of the risk of getting the condition, a team of researchers has said.
Key points:Scientists at the University of California, Irvine (UCLA) found a way to make blood tests to detect if a person has the disease in a sample of the body.
They say the tests are cheap, easy to use and can help people with blindness understand what they are getting intoThe test is part of a larger effort to help people in the world with blindness avoid unnecessary surgery and cosmetic surgery.
The tests are also cheap, safe and can be administered in a matter of minutes, UCLA’s School of Medicine professor of ophthalmology, Dr Michael Lander, said.
“These tests are really a lifesaver for those people who have a potentially very serious condition and really need to know if they are going to get cancer or something else,” he said.
They were developed by Dr Lander and his team in collaboration with Drs Richard Hoggard and John F. Murnaghan of the University at Buffalo.
“What we have discovered is a really inexpensive way to do a test, to make a blood test,” Dr Langer said.
It’s a new way of looking at things in a much simpler way.
“Dr Lander said the new tests could potentially help thousands of people in many countries, including the United States.”
We’re getting a lot of applications for the tests and so I’m sure it’s going to go down a lot,” he told the ABC’s Insiders program.”
It’s like the next big thing in the field of cosmetic surgery, or a diagnostic test for surgery.
“They’re very cheap, they’re easy to do and they can be done at home, they can take a little bit of time.”
The team is still developing the tests.
Dr Langer is now working with Dr Hoggart and Dr Murnagh to create a test for people who are already blind or have some other physical impairments, but have no other medical condition.
“In the next few years we’re looking at this to see if there is a way of getting that test to detect the condition,” Dr Huggart said.
Dr Hoggas and Dr Hagan were not involved in the research.
Dr Murnahes said the tests were developed in collaboration between the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), the American Red Cross and the National Sight Institute.
“I think it’s a really exciting time to be working on this,” he explained.
“This is going to help blind and visually impaired people.”
For some people it’s really important to be able to communicate with others.
“If you have some visual impairment or you have other medical conditions it could be important for you to have this test so that you know if you have any condition that might be affecting your communication or your ability to see.”
The test could provide a better picture of what’s happening in the body, particularly to people who can’t see because of vision impairment, and could be a way for doctors to identify patients who have complications with the procedure.
Dr Linda D’Agostino, a professor of optometry and ophthalmic surgery at the Harvard Medical School, said she was impressed with the test’s potential.
“There are a lot more questions about the accuracy of the tests,” she said.
“I don’t think we can get enough answers about the test.”
But it’s an important step forward.
“Hopefully we can continue to develop it and improve it so that we can make it even more useful.”
Dr Magan said he had no interest in being involved in developing the test, but would be happy to talk to Dr Landers.
Dr Fagan said the test could not be used for cosmetic surgery as there was no specific procedure it could detect.
“The tests have a different meaning to what they mean for people with other medical disorders, and they could be useful for people in that situation,” he added.
“So we’re really excited about that.”
Dr Hagan said his hope was that the test would eventually help people who had the condition before they had the surgery, to give them a better understanding of how to avoid unnecessary surgeries.
“A lot of these patients don’t have the risk factor for getting the disease because the surgery is not performed in their country of origin,” he noted.
“And if we can find a way, if we know the way in the US, to get the test in that patient we would be really excited to do that.”
As far as cosmetic surgery goes, it would be a really good test.
“The tests, which are part of an ongoing project, are part in a larger research effort to improve the way doctors treat blindness.”
One of the big questions that we’re working on is the use of this test to diagnose and help people to understand the risk factors