Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA; estimated prevalence 1 : 50,000-100,000) is an early-onset inherited cause of childhood blindness characterized by a severe retinal dystrophy immediately after birth. Variants in at least six genes, AIPL1, CRB1, CRX, GUCY2D, RPE65, and RPGRIP1, have been associated with a diagnosis consistent with LCA or early-onset retinitis pigmentosa and together account for less than 50% of all LCA cases. Genetically heterogeneous inheritance has complicated the molecular analysis of LCA cases, especially sporadic ones where conventional methods are of limited value. Until recently, the management of patients with LCA relied mainly on clinical examination, electrophysiology, and other ancillary tests. Genotyping, i.e., determining the exact genetic defect causing LCA in each specific case, was not routinely performed since the comprehensive screening of six genes by SSCP and/or direct sequencing is relatively inefficient and cost-prohibitive. Patients, therefore, were often left with no specific information on their disease status. Recent advances in genotyping technologies have allowed the introduction of comprehensive and affordable screening procedures to determine causal genetic variation, resulting in precise molecular diagnosis, more accurate visual prognosis, and suggestions towards treatment options.
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