Genetic testing has been used in medicine for several years. In 2009 a new genetic test was introduced that can predict how a patient with macular degeneration will progress. The company’s name is Arctic Diagnostics Inc. Mr. Greg Hines is the president and CEO. Previous genetic testing for macular degeneration tested for those patients who would develop late-state disease only. This newer test for those diagnosed already with ARMD covers the genotype spectrum for those who are at a low risk for vision loss in the future as well as those that have a medium or high risk for severe vision loss.
The test involves using a cotton swab on the inside of the patient’s cheek with a gentle brush. The swab is air dried and sent to the genetic company for processing. Many insurance companies including Medicare now cover the new genetic test which is called Macular Risk. Who needs this testing? They are people who have been recently diagnosed with dry ARMD. The second group of concerned people would be relatives close to a person with a diagnosis of macular degeneration.
What purpose does it serve to know what the future may bring? Those found to be at low risk for developing vision loss will be relieved. Those other patients with a high risk for losing vision may have time to alter or change their lifestyles if they are considered harmful to their health.
In addition to lifestyle changes, an internal nutritional analysis based on blood work can pinpoint body organ deficiencies which may be detrimental. Also microcurrent therapy can be started with electrode pads over the eyes. This helps primarily dry macular degeneration patients which is the beginning stage for everyone diagnosed. This genetic test is considered to be 80% accurate and is much more reliable than previous genetic testing. There are four genes which are tested. They are CFH, C, ARMS 2 and the mitochondrial gene ND 2.10 This test is not for a healthy individual with 20/20 vision unless they have relatives that have been diagnosed.
The macular risk genetic test will tell you how your risk compares to the general population. The average Caucasian has a 9.8% risk of developing ARMD. The Arctic Diagnostic test will uncover 4 out 5 people destined to get the condition. Most people want to know if they are at risk only if something can be done about it. This is where microcurrent stimulation, oxygen inhalation, and nutritional support can be used as a combined therapy prior to losing vision.
10 Brent Zanke, MD, PhD, FRCPC: Steven Hawken ,MSc; Ronald Carter, (PHD; David Chow, MD, FRCSC – A Genetic approach to stratification of risk for age-related macular degeneration – Can J Ophthalmol 2010; 45:22-7