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Rapid eye movements significantly delayed in people with glaucoma
Date:12/6/2012

ll treatments for glaucoma -- eye drops, laser surgery and conventional surgery -- are designed to reduce pressure in the eye and help slow or stabilize damage to optic nerve. No treatment can reverse the disease.

"Now that we know that eye movement reaction times are delayed in people with glaucoma, there is an opportunity to understand the effects of glaucoma on daily activities of living that most of us take for granted, such as walking up and down stairs, driving, navigating and reading. Dr. Gupta said. "Just as alcohol causes a delay in hitting the brakes, glaucoma slows the time it takes to move the eyes quickly in response to a visual cue."

In previous work, Dr. Gupta and colleagues have demonstrated that glaucoma is a neurodegenerative disease affecting major vision pathways in the brain. Dr. Gupta's current paper points to a new vision pathway in the brain that is affected in glaucoma. Ninety per cent of signals from the optic nerve travel to an area at the back of the brain called the lateral geniculate nucleus. But the brain signals for rapid eye movements appear to travel a different route through the area known as the superior colliculus. A previous smaller study by Lamirel and coworkers published in the Journal of Glaucoma in 2012 also showed that saccades were impaired in four glaucoma patients with visual field loss.


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Contact: Leslie Shepherd
shepherdl@smh.ca
416-864-4094
St. Michael's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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