Eye drops designed to lower cholesterol may be able to prevent one of the most common forms of blindness, according to US researchers.
They showed how high cholesterol levels could affect the immune system and lead to macular degeneration.
Tests on mice and humans, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, showed that immune cells became destructive when they were clogged with fats.
Others cautioned that the research was still at an early stage.
The macula is the sweet spot in the eye which is responsible for fine detail. It is essential for reading, driving and recognising people’s faces.
Macular degeneration is more common in old age. It starts in a “dry” form in which the light-sensing cells in the eye become damaged, but can progress into the far more threatening “wet” version, when newly formed blood vessels can rapidly cause blindness.