Retinal Degenerative Diseases

Millions of people in North America live with varying degrees of irreversible vision loss because they have an untreatable, degenerative eye disorder, which affects the retina. In these conditions, the delicate layer of tissue that lines the inside back of the eye is damaged affecting its ability to send light signals to the brain. The video below explains the basic premise of retinal eye disease.

Retinal degenerative disorders are a large and diverse group of conditions affecting young and old from many cultures, races and ethnicities.

Age-related macular degeneration is the most common condition, distinguished by its prevalence in the senior population. Over one million Canadians are affected, with age being the major risk factor for the disease.

Many other retinal degenerative disorders are inherited, meaning that they are due to a genetic mutation. An individual can inherit such a mutation, even if they have no clear family history of vision loss. In other instances, many members and generations of a family may experience vision loss. Learn more about how retinal diseases are inherited.  There are many types of inherited retinal degenerations. Here are a few of the more common ones:

Information about these and other conditions provided on the FFB web site is meant to complement and not replace any advice or information from a health professional. Please talk to your retinal specialist about what you learn here, and how it applies to your own health.

The Foundation Fighting Blindness funds research relevant to all retinal degenerative diseases - supporting work that helps us better understand vision loss and works toward preserving and restoring sight. While some of our funded projects focus on very specific types of vision loss, many others look for therapies that can be used to slow the progress of all retinal diseases. Learn more about our currently funded projects.

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Updated January 2014 in consultation with Dr. Bill Stell, FFB Director of Research Programs and Professor of Cell Biology and Anatomy; Surgery; Ophthalmology; and Neurosciences at the University of Calgary.


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