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In This Issue of JAMA Ophthalmology |

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JAMA Ophthalmol. 2014;132(1):5. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2013.5918.
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Few genes have been identified that lead to refractive error in the general population. To identify genes moderately associated with refractive error, Hysi and colleagues analyzed genome-wide association studies in 2 British population-based independent cohorts (N = 5928 participants). Their findings suggested that development of refractive error is related to the intensity of the photosignal transduced from the retina, which may have implications for future interventions to minimize refractive error.

The potential association between age-related macular degeneration and Alzheimer disease is uncertain, so Keenan and colleagues evaluated a cohort of 65 894 people with age-related macular degeneration constructed from the English National Health Service from 1999 to 2011, along with a dementia cohort of 168 092 people and a reference cohort of more than 7.7 million people. The risk for Alzheimer disease or dementia following age-related macular degeneration was not elevated. While these neurodegenerative conditions may share environmental risk factors and histopathologic features, their coexistence at the individual level appears to be no different from that expected by chance.


One hundred years ago, vitamin A was recognized as critical to normal eyes, growth, and survival. Alfred Sommer, MD, MHS, described the somewhat accidental discovery of vitamin A’s role in fighting life-threatening infections while he was evaluating its importance in preventing xerophthalmia. Several large-scale randomized clinical trials now have convinced the pediatric and nutrition communities of vitamin A’s importance for child survival, with vitamin A distribution programs now credited with saving the sight and lives of nearly half a million children every year.





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