Singapore develops test for eye disease causing blindness

Singapore develops test for eye disease causing blindness

SINGAPORE, July 24 (Xinhua) -- Asia's first genetic test for identifying patients with a type of eye disease that leads to loss of vision has been developed by doctors and experts in Singapore, Channel NewsAsia reported on Thursday.

The disease, known as corneal stromal dystrophy, affects the cornea and can lead to loss of vision. The newly-developed POLARIS Transforming Growth Factor beta Induced (TGFBI) genetic test can assist the diagnosis of patients with such disease. It provides patients with a personalized diagnosis of their condition, which will help facilitate clinical care.

It can also identify family members carrying a TGFBI mutation who may also be at risk of the disease in the future, the report said.

"We are often asked about whether this gene can be transferred across the family, inherited from parents to children. We're often asked whether there's a risk that their children, brother or sister will get the disease," said Prof. Donald Tan, Medical Director, Singapore National Eye Centre.

"Overall, there's about a 50-50 chance. Now we can offer this genetic test to family members who have this disease so they will know definitively whether they have this gene or not which will then affect them in later life."