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:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... American Gene Technologies ... to its board of directors. Otterstatter is co-founder, president and CEO of ... technological innovations that lead to broad-based healthcare solutions. , “Jon knows how to ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... WaterAid launched the #perioddrama campaign to mark Menstrual Hygiene Day ... women around the world who do not have access to a toilet, even when they’re ... their dread of #perioddrama. The (sometimes hilarious) results help shine a light on the awkwardness ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... ... patient Services To Begin In June , Aloria Health, specializing in a re-imagined, ... opening of Aloria Milwaukee, its first treatment facility for outpatient, day treatment and ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 24, 2016 , ... ... and tick-borne disease research and education, today announced that it has named Scott ... of the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) in San Francisco, where ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... Dignity Health has announced it will be opening a ... licensed under Dignity Health Arizona General Hospital, which opened last year in the West ... that the new facility will complement Dignity Health’s existing hospitals’ emergency departments. “We ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/24/2016)... , May 24, 2016 Open ... in Clinical Neurophysiology  Elsevier , a ... and services, today announced the launch of ... access journal that focuses on clinical practice issues in ... reports, clinical series, normal values and didactic reviews. It ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... PUNE, India , May 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... research report "Patient Handling Equipment Market by Product ... Type of Care (Bariatric Care, Critical Care, Wound), ... Hospital) - Forecast to 2021", published by MarketsandMarkets, ... reach USD 17.18 Billion by 2021 at a ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... ALBANY, New York , May 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... new market report titled, " Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency Market ... Forecast 2013 - 2023 ." According to the report, ... at a CAGR of 8.3% from 2015 to 2023 ... pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) is a condition characterized by the ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: