February 1, 2021
A doctor looks into a slit lamp

Jayakrishna Ambati, M.D., University of Virginia, and his collaborators have identified a group of drugs that may help prevent macular degeneration. Image credit: UVA Health.

Scientists have identified a group of drugs that may help stop a leading cause of vision loss after making an unexpected discovery that overturns a fundamental belief about DNA.

The drugs, known as Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors, or NRTIs, are commonly used to treat HIV. The new discovery suggests that they may be useful against dry macular degeneration as well, even though a virus does not cause that sight-stealing condition.

A review of four different health insurance databases suggests that people taking these drugs have significantly reduced risk of developing dry macular degeneration, a condition that affects millions of Americans.