on May 18, 2012
We recently came across an interesting article in the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, which highlights new research on glaucoma.
First, for those unfamiliar with glaucoma, it is a group of eye conditions in which the optic nerve is damaged. This prevents the visual message from being sent from the eye to the brain and leads to eventual blindness unless it is recognized and treated. In most cases damage to the optic nerve results from elevated pressure within the eye that is caused by a backup of fluid in the eye. Glaucoma can develop in one or both eyes. Read more on glaucoma.
Anyone can get glaucoma, however, some people are at higher risk.
- Everyone over age 60.
- People with a family history of glaucoma.
- People with diabetes.
- People with a history of uveitis or inflammation within the eye.
- People with a history of trauma to the eye.
According to new research now available in Ophthalmology,the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, 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.
Why is neurologically based research focused on damage in nerve cells significant when it comes to glaucoma? Because these could lead to information on how to protect, enhance and even regenerate these healthy cells. Future glaucoma treatments may not only prevent glaucoma but also may be able to restore vision.
These advances are particularly exciting to the AECP, given our long history of treating patients with glaucoma. One shining example of our work in this area involves a woman named Goharik, a talented singer who was diagnosed with glaucoma at the age of 3. After several intense surgeries, Goharik finally got the help she needed when AECP doctors Rich Hill and Roger Ohanesian successfully operated on her and she saw her eye pressure go down.
Read more about Goharik’s story (https://www.eyecareproject.com/about-aecp/patient-stories/goharik) or the recent glaucoma study here. ttp://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/eye-health-news/press-releases/glaucoma-as-neurologic-rather-than-only-eye-disease.cfm