Breakthrough in vision research may help to prevent vision loss

11 Dec, 2015

The Queensland Eye Institute in collaboration with the Queensland University of Technology has bioengineered a range of unique antioxidant therapies that may reduce vision damage in the future.

In a recent article published in the respected journal, Neurochemistry International*, A/Prof Nigel Barnett of the Queensland Eye Institute and colleagues, including noted organic chemist Professor Steven Bottle (Queensland University of Technology) have developed new and improved antioxidant compounds.

So what is so different about these compounds over other, existing antioxidant compounds and why are antioxidants important in eye disease?

I posed these two questions to A/Prof Barnett who explained his team’s research. We’ve all heard the term ‘antioxidants’ and know they’re good for us but what exactly are they and why do we need new ones?

Too many oxygen molecules (for example from direct sunlight) produce free radicals that can be devastating on fragile eye tissue. Daily, our body performs a balancing act between using oxygen effectively and eliminating excess oxygen. Free radicals are destroyed by antioxidants, preventing damage to tissues; in this case eyes and your vision. In these experiments, the new antioxidants substantially reduced free radicals!

A/Prof Barnett emphasised the importance of this latest success, ‘not only will it help us to understand and treat vision damage but there are many other serious conditions where reducing oxidative stress is vital, including cardiac and neurodegenerative diseases.’

*Real-time quantification of oxidative stress and the protective effect of nitroxide antioxidants