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Assessing the Link Between Eye Color and Health Risks

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The health risks associated with eye color represent a new area of ​​interest in the scientific community, but many of the findings to date are inconclusive.

In their latest study, the researchers set out to determine whether color-determining genes regulate retinal health, regardless of their role in pigment formation.

Their results show that genes are a critical determinant of retinal health and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Recent results indicate that some of the metabolites involved in eye color damage the retina, with the degree of degeneration determined by an imbalance between the metabolites and other protective metabolic pathways in the eye.

Elisabeth Knost of the Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics. Max Planck Institute (MPI-CBG) in Dresden, Germany, who led the study, said: “This work shows that the kynurenine pathway is important not only for pigment formation, but also for levels of individual metabolites that play an important role in maintaining retinal health.”

Kynurenine is an evolutionarily conserved metabolic pathway that regulates many biological processes. Its disruption can lead to the accumulation of toxic or protective biomolecules or metabolites that can impair or improve the health of the brain, including the retina.

The findings suggest that human eye color genes may be an important component of retinal health.

Metabolic pathways consist of a series of biochemical reactions in cells that convert a parent compound into other products.

Many human diseases, including retinal diseases or neurodegenerative diseases, are associated with abnormal metabolic pathways.

Scientists now know that four genes known to control eye color are also required for healthy retinal tissue.

In previous studies, scientists have found that people with brown eyes have a lower risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in older adults.

Research ophthalmology and visual sciences came to this conclusion in 2015.

The journal states: “Previous studies have shown that a lighter color of the iris increases the risk of age-related macular degeneration. That is, people with blue irises are more likely to have a higher prevalence and greater likelihood of developing age-related macular degeneration compared to those with darker irises.”

According to an article published in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology, a study was conducted with 171 participants aged 52 to 93 who were diagnosed with early macular degeneration.

A total of 53 people in the sample showed signs of progressive age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

The authors of the study note: “Participants with a light iris color were twice as likely to develop age-related macular degeneration than participants with a dark or medium iris color.”

Another 2011 study found that people with a combination of blue eyes and fair skin are more likely to develop type 1 diabetes.

It has also been found that their brown-eyed counterparts are less likely to lose their hearing in noisy environments.

Other problems such as alcohol addiction, endometriosis, and cataracts have been linked to eye color changes.

The Center for Vision at Everyday Health states that while there are many studies suggesting that health risks may be associated with the eyes, “it is actually impossible to predict health outcomes or quality of vision based on color alone.”

It has been proven that people with blue or light eyes tend to be more sensitive to light due to the absence of light-absorbing pigments in the eyes.

Source: Express

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