J. Fielding Hejtmancik, Marc Kantorow, and Takeshi Iwata
The visual system provides unique opportunities to study the aging process, as well as challenges in understanding and developing therapies for age-related eye diseases. Exposure of the lens to high levels of photo-oxidative stress and the lack of protein turnover in the lens nucleus make it an optimal system in which to study protein modifications in aging. Similarly, the high level of metabolic activity in the retina and the necessity for turning over large amounts of lipids provide particular research opportunities as well. Finally, visual diseases associated with aging are among the most common threats to the quality of life in the elderly. Of age-related visual diseases, three result in a particularly high burden on the population: age-related cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and progressive open angle glaucoma. Thus, these are dealt with in some detail in this brief review. Because of space and formatting limitations, much work described in this review could not be cited directly. The citations for most of these can be found in the references and general sources given in the chapter, and we apologize to those authors whose work is not cited directly. In addition, parts of this review draw from previous work by the three authors, reflecting their continuing preferences in style and arrangement.
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