Genetic tests are capable of diagnosing genetic eye diseases which can lead to decline and even loss of vision in an early stage, said a source with Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK).
According to CUHK, genetic eye diseases that could lead to vision loss are estimated to affect about 5 percent of the world population. Early detection of some genetic eye diseases such as primary open-angle glaucoma and retinoblastoma can help reduce therisk of vision decline.
Because of this, CUHK announced Friday at a press conference the establishment of LIM Por-yen Eye Genetics Research Center to provide citizens with genetic screening of genetic eye diseases.
"Through genetic screening, we can identify individuals at highrisk of developing a particular disease such as primary open-angleglaucoma. By providing regular check-up for these high risk individuals, we will be able to detect and treat the disease at anearly stage, which implies a better long-term outcome," said Prof.Dennis Shun-chiu Lam, chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences of CUHK and Director of LIM Por-yen Eye Genetics Research Center.
Genetic screening is also helpful to family planning and pre-natal diagnosis in cases of retinoblastoma.
Dr. Dorothy Shu-ping Fan, an associate professor of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences of CUHK, and director of Genetic Counseling of LIM Por-yen Eye Genetics Research Center, said, retinoblastoma can cause not only bilateralblindness but also death if not treated early enough. In patients with positive family history, there is a 50 percent chance of their siblings and offspring to be suffering from retinoblastoma.
The LIM Por-yen Eye Genetics Research Center will start offering South East Asia's first genetic screening service for genetic eye diseases to citizens from April 1.