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:4/24/2017)... ... ... My T Chai, a South African company that creates a number of ... a popular website specializing in sales of nutritional products. , Chai tea is ... It spread across Asia and Africa quickly, and today recipes vary from region to ...
(Date:4/24/2017)... ... April 24, 2017 , ... ... expected to be diagnosed globally; approximately 25,000 of them will be malignant.(1) As ... use of this type of healthcare model in the diagnosis and treatment of ...
(Date:4/24/2017)... , ... April 24, 2017 , ... As a former ... a thousand words. The good news for single women is that she put all ... is available on April 25th. Joan's insight, personal experiences and sparkling sense of humor ...
(Date:4/24/2017)... ... April 24, 2017 , ... A new global study of ... student well-being has seriously declined. "When disenfranchised youth from the heart of our ... State to turn the historic multi-ethnic and multi-religious powerhouses of the Middle East ...
(Date:4/24/2017)... ... April 24, 2017 , ... Miami ... attending the 2017 Oral Reconstruction Foundation’s 2017 Symposium on Tissue Regeneration and Implant ... will present its annual Global Symposium at the Fontainebleau Hotel located in Miami ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/19/2017)... , April 19, 2017  IRIDEX Corporation (Nasdaq: ... release financial results for the first quarter 2017 after ... The Company,s management team will host a corresponding conference ... ET. Investors interested in listening to the ... for domestic callers or (703) 326-3030 for international callers, ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... DALLAS , April 19, 2017  Vanderbilt ... the first patients in Nashville , ... the Lower Esophageal Sphincter Stimulation for GERD (LESS GERD) ... designed to provide long-term reflux control by restoring normal ... affects nearly 65 million people in the ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... -- Companion animal vaccines are ... such as canine, avian and feline. ... as Attenuated Live Vaccines, Conjugate Vaccines, Inactivated Vaccines, ... Vaccines. Attenuated live vaccines are derived from disease-causing ... been weakend under laboratory conditions. Conjugate vaccines are ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: