Navigation Links
Looking at Glaucoma as a Systemic Disease
Date:11/11/2007

Lecture at American Academy of Ophthalmology Annual Meeting Examines

Glaucoma as Manifestation of a Larger Disease

NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Glaucoma has long been considered a disease of the eye. For most of the 20th century, it was equated with elevated intraocular pressure. Yet, over the past two decades, an increasing number of non-pressure-dependent risk factors have been identified, suggesting that glaucoma can be broadly defined as the final common pathway of a number of different disorders that affect the eye. Glaucoma may also be included in a larger group of neurodegenerative disorders that share aspects of nerve cell death, oxidative damage and low-grade inflammation. This group of disorders includes age-related macular degeneration and Alzheimer's disease.

In a lecture delivered today at the American Academy of Ophthalmology's Annual Meeting, Robert Ritch, MD, Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology at the New York Medical College, Chief of Glaucoma Services at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, and Medical Director of The Glaucoma Foundation, called upon physicians to look at glaucoma in a different light: as the ocular manifestation of a more systemic disease. Dr. Ritch examined two glaucomas with very different origins -- exfoliative glaucoma and normal-tension glaucoma, concluding that they are characterized by findings that are linked to other disorders as well.

"I would like to advocate that many of the different diseases which we categorize together as glaucoma have associated systemic manifestations," says Dr. Ritch. "We're finding a series of other risk factors that are connected to ocular disease." Dr. Ritch cites data from studies, including a recent finding linking exfoliative glaucoma with genetic variations in the formation of elastic tissue, as evidence that glaucoma is not just an isolated disease of the eye.

Exfoliative glaucoma occurs when abnormal aggregates of fibrillar material related to elastic fibers along with pigment from the iris break off and block the drainage of fluid in the eye, thus elevating interocular pressure. Exfoliative glaucoma is the most common recognizable cause of open angle glaucoma in the world and in certain countries is the cause of the majority of glaucoma cases. But the degenerated or abnormal elastic fibers whose shedding leads to exfoliative glaucoma are found in other organs as well.

"You can find exfoliative material all over the body, mostly in connective tissue, such as the walls of blood vessels and cardiac muscle," says Dr. Ritch.

Studies have found that patients with exfoliative glaucoma have a higher incidence of several other diseases, including Alzheimer's and vascular diseases. "The same genetic variation that affects the eye is probably active in all these other tissues," says Dr. Ritch. "The gene is hopefully going to explain not just exfoliation in the eye. Perhaps it's also plays a role in stroke and myocardial infarction."

By contrast, normal-tension glaucoma occurs when there is damage to the optic nerve even when pressure within the eye seems to remain normal. However, Dr. Ritch notes, patients with the disease exhibit other risk factors, particularly reduced blood flow, or ischemia.

Patients often exhibit poor circulation throughout their extremities. They are also more prone to sleep apnea and an abnormal reduction in blood pressure while sleeping.

"Normal-tension glaucoma is really a nighttime disease," says Dr. Ritch.

Other risk factors associated with ischemia directly affect the retinal ganglian cells. Cells are programmed to die when they are no longer useful or have become damaged, a process known as apoptosis. But a genetic variation affecting individuals with normal-tension glaucoma causes their retinal ganglian cells to die at a more rapid rate.

About the American Academy of Ophthalmology

AAO is the world's largest association of eye physicians and surgeons -- Eye M.D.s -- with more than 27,000 members worldwide. Eye health care is provided by the three "O's" -- opticians, optometrists and ophthalmologists. It is the ophthalmologist, or Eye M.D., who can treat it all: eye diseases and injuries, and perform eye surgery. For more information, visit the Academy's Web site at http://www.aao.org.


'/>"/>
SOURCE American Academy of Ophthalmology
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Weight loss game looking for NEAT-o results
2. Fluctuating eye pressure associated with visual field deterioration in glaucoma patients
3. Glaucoma surgery in the blink of an eye
4. Glaucoma surgery in the blink of an eye
5. Chair of U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Pledges to Recommend Re-evaluation of Recent Glaucoma Findings
6. U of M performs first systemic therapy for fatal childhood disease
7. Millennium Announces MLN1202 Significantly Reduced Marker of Systemic Inflammation and Identifies Genomic Biomarker For Responders
8. Smoking may strongly increase long-term risk of eye disease
9. Pot bellies linked to early signs of cardiovascular disease
10. Anemia and tropical diseases; Is pharmacogenomics ready for the clinic?
11. Radiologists encouraged to look beyond cancer for clinically unseen diseases
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... 05, 2016 , ... US Sports Camps , official operators of Nike ... high-performance kids yoga training. ChildLight Yoga Studio is centrally situated in the picturesque New ... ChildLight Yoga Studio founder Lisa Flynn expresses her excitement, “We are thrilled to be ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... , ... Give To Cure today announced that it is working ... To Cure’s campaign that is crowdfunding clinical trials to help find cures faster for ... a smart device. In 2015 alone, Venmo processed $7.5 billion in transactions among users. ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... ... Dr. Justin Scott and Dr. Lydia Muccioli of Pure Dental Health ... in need. The event is scheduled to take place on February 27, 2016 from ... dental care to community members in need. Each patient will be given the opportunity ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... February 05, 2016 , ... In sleep, when the defenses of ... A hallmark feature of patients with eating disorders is significant self-criticism, and consequently these ... and obsessions are regarded as maladaptive means for coping with this unease, but also ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... , ... February 05, 2016 , ... Calls Blacklist has ... completely new user interface design and the developer has fixed known bugs within the ... want to on their phone while not consuming any of their device’s battery power ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/5/2016)... N.Y. , Feb. 5, 2016  Henry Schein, ... health care products and services to office-based dental, animal ... entered into an agreement to acquire a majority ownership ... supplies and equipment in Brazil . ... Headquartered in Blumenau, Brazil, Dental Cremer is the dental distribution ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... For hospitals considering enrollment in the Federal ... the program, the Health Resources and Services Administration,s (HRSA) ... Mega-Guidance , could have significant impact on plans and ... 2016. Essential Insights , Daniel Neal, ... the Mega-Guidance,s key proposed changes, including a new requirement ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... 4, 2016   Bernstein Liebhard LLP today announced ... United States District Court for the District of ... consisting of all persons or entities who purchased common shares ... INSY ) from March 3, 2015 through January 25, 2016 ... its officers with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: