A MAJOR study by a Southampton medical research charity is aiming to find the cause of the most common form of blindness in older people.

Hope is commissioning the research - funded by the 10th States of Guernsey Hope Research Fellowship - into DNA samples taken from patients with Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD).

AMD is the most common form of blindness in people over the age of 65.

Prof Andrew Lotery, from the University of Southampton, will study the DNA

samples to find genes which may be linked to the disease.

He hopes to find out if the genes which cause the disease in younger people are the same for the older generation and to

discover if mutations in the genes are the cause of the degeneration, leading to blindness.

To date, nobody has been able to discover the genes responsible for AMD as conventional methods do not work well on elderly patients. But it has been established that AMD is an inherited condition.

Prof Lotery will be working with Hugh Bacon, one of Guernsey's consultant ophthalmologists, and the Southampton Eye Research Laboratory.

Director of Hope Ray Kipling said: "We are very grateful to Guernsey for funding another very important piece of research.

"The study could unlock the cause of this condition and thus improve life for elderly people all over the world."