Navigation Links
New research characterizes glaucoma as neurologic disorder rather than eye disease
Date:3/7/2012

SAN FRANCISCO March 6, 2012 A new paradigm to explain glaucoma is rapidly emerging, and it is generating brain-based treatment advances that may ultimately vanquish the disease known as the "sneak thief of sight." A review now available in Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, reports that some top researchers no longer think of glaucoma solely as an eye disease. Instead, they view it as a neurologic disorder that causes nerve cells in the brain to degenerate and die, similar to what occurs in Parkinson disease and in Alzheimer's. The review, led by Jeffrey L Goldberg, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute, describes treatment advances that are either being tested in patients or are scheduled to begin clinical trials soon.

Glaucoma is the most common cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. For many years, the prevailing theory was that vision damage in glaucoma patients was caused by abnormally high pressure inside the eye, known as intraocular pressure (IOP). As a result, lowering IOP was the only goal of those who developed surgical techniques and medications to treat glaucoma. Creating tests and instruments to measure and track IOP was crucial to that effort. Today, a patient's IOP is no longer the only measurement an ophthalmologist uses to diagnose glaucoma, although it is still a key part of deciding how to care for the patient. IOP-lowering medications and surgical techniques continue to be effective ways to protect glaucoma patients' eyes and vision. Tracking changes in IOP over time informs the doctor whether the treatment plan is working.

But even when surgery or medication successfully lowers IOP, vision loss continues in some glaucoma patients. Also, some patients find it difficult to use eye drop medications as prescribed by their physicians. These significant shortcomings spurred researchers to look beyond IOP as a cause of glaucoma and focus of treatment.

The new research paradigm focuses on the damage that occurs in a type of nerve cell called retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), which are vital to the ability to see. These cells connect the eye to the brain through the optic nerve.

RGC-targeted glaucoma treatments now in clinical trials include: medications injected into the eye that deliver survival and growth factors to RGCs; medications known to be useful for stroke and Alzheimer's, such as cytidine-5-diphosphocholine; and electrical stimulation of RGCs, delivered via tiny electrodes implanted in contact lenses or other external devices. Human trials of stem cell therapies are in the planning stages.

"As researchers turn their attention to the mechanisms that cause retinal ganglion cells to degenerate and die, they are discovering ways to protect, enhance and even regenerate these vital cells," said Dr. Goldberg. "Understanding how to prevent damage and improve healthy function in these neurons may ultimately lead to sight-saving treatments for glaucoma and other degenerative eye diseases."

If this neurologically-based research succeeds, future glaucoma treatments may not only prevent glaucoma from stealing patients' eyesight, but may actually restore vision. Scientists also hope that their in-depth exploration of RGCs will help them determine what factors, such as genetics, make some people more vulnerable to glaucoma.


'/>"/>

Contact: Mary Wade
mwade@aao.org
415-447-0221
American Academy of Ophthalmology
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Research finds little benefit of breast imaging tests for women with breast pain
2. Researchers find possible genetic keys to surviving epithelial ovarian cancer
3. Researchers discover possible approach to the treatment of aggressive breast cancer
4. Industry leaders join together for historic Accelerating Cancer Cures Research Symposium
5. Sanford-Burnham research advances to patient studies at TRI
6. Chinese Minister of Health to hold US meeting to improve cancer research collaboration
7. Researchers ID gene behind primary cervical dystonia, a neck-twisting disorder
8. Notre Dames Bengal Bouts participants aid in concussion research
9. NIH asthma outcome measures aim to maximize research investments, reduce disparities
10. Standardized outcome measures proposed for asthma clinical research
11. Researchers find sarcoma tumor immune response with combination therapy
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:7/21/2017)... ... July 21, 2017 , ... Thomas Jefferson ... Witness , was awarded a $300,000 grant from The Pew Center for Arts ... with ambiguity and the recognition of one’s own limits among health professions students. ...
(Date:7/21/2017)... ... July 21, 2017 , ... ... $5,000 grant from the C. R. Bard Foundation, Inc. to support ... Hills , a service available through the nonprofit home care agency. Using evidence-based ...
(Date:7/21/2017)... ... 21, 2017 , ... In the first prospective ACL reconstruction ... Outcome Network (MOON) demonstrated that patients could perform sports-related functions and maintain a ... over time. The study, presented today at the American Orthopaedic Society for ...
(Date:7/20/2017)... MA (PRWEB) , ... July 20, 2017 , ... ... form of blood and bone marrow cancer that progresses rapidly without treatment. Newly ... recommended to reduce the chance of reoccurrence and relapse. With such a ...
(Date:7/20/2017)... ATLANTA, Ga. (PRWEB) , ... July 20, 2017 , ... ... and equal access to medicine for everyone affected by diabetes, is teaming up with ... the five-day global event kicks off on July 24th. , “Team Type 1’s ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:7/19/2017)...  Mako Medical Laboratories partnered with Secretary Strickland, the ... Fund (MFA) to bring 140 soldiers back home to ... families one last time before being deployed. Mako Medical ... logistics needed for these soldiers. "Mako Medical Laboratories is ... We just wish we could bring them all home," ...
(Date:7/13/2017)...  Centurion Medical Products, a leader in medical product innovation and ... removal device for hospice patient care. ... Centurion Medical Products ... Patient pain management and emotional comfort are part of a ... pain while preventing unneeded emergency department admission due to severe fecal ...
(Date:7/11/2017)... , July 11, 2017 Zymo Research Corp., also known ... that can quantify biological aging in a precise manner using the myDNAge ... Steve Horvath , a professor of human genetics and biostatistics at the ... School of Public Health , Zymo Research,s proprietary DNAge ™ technology ... ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: