Just a few short years ago, 2015 researchers at Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine discovered that dogs could develop a form of inherited night blindness that is very similar to the same condition in people. Then in 2019 they identified the gene that is responsible for this condition.
Night blindness in people is referred to as congenital stationary night blindness (CSNB) and prevents people from distinguishing objects in dimly lit situations. This condition makes it nearly impossible for people with CSNB to drive at night or see when there is no artificial light.
The researchers have found that a group of cells deep in the retina called ON bipolar cells are the culprit. They have developed a single injection of gene therapy that has corrected night blindness in dogs that lasts a year or longer. They did observe that some dogs had better recovery than others.
The researchers are studying whether or not one injection will last a lifetime. They are also developing a therapy that can be used in a clinical trial for people.