National Glaucoma Research Program

The term "glaucoma" refers to a group of  related eye disorders that have few symptoms in their early stages but that eventually result in damage to the optic nerve, which is the bundle of nerve fibers that carries information from the eye to the brain.

There are two main forms of glaucoma: open-angle (the most common form, affecting approximately 70 to 95 percent of individuals who have glaucoma) and angle-closure. Both of these can lead to loss of side vision and eventually to complete blindness. There are more than three million Americans living with glaucoma, and an estimated half of them may not know that they have the disease.

Everything you need to manage glaucoma

Program History

Since the National Glaucoma Research (NGR) program began in 1978, BrightFocus has awarded more than $28.6 million to support research projects on the causes and potential prevention and treatment of this disease. NGR is currently supporting 31 biomedical research projects. 

Download the 2016 NGR Grants Yearbook in PDF format and view our current grantees.

Research We Have Funded

A few examples:

  • A new mechanism controlling the drainage of eye fluid.
  • A new way to protect nerve cells in the eyes.
  • Stimulation of the retina to re-grow axons that allow eye cells to make connections to the brain, allowing for the recovery of vision.
  • An improved gene delivery method to lower eye pressure.
  • Cell replacement therapy for glaucoma.

Learn more about the research we currently fund and the research we have funded over the years. 

Important Breakthroughs

Research results from BrightFocus-supported studies that could lead to breakthroughs in stopping glaucoma include:

  • The inhibition of the protein, Grp94, could lead to new treatments for some forms of hereditary glaucoma.
  • Targeted x-ray treatment provides protection from glaucoma in mice.
  • A new clue to the origins of glaucoma comes from a protein that blocks eye drainage.
  • Higher oxygen levels in  the eyes of African Americans may help explain glaucoma risk.
  • Two genetic mutations are linked to normal-pressure glaucoma.
  • Small episodes of stress to the eyes may actually protect against damage from glaucoma.
  • Zebrafish may hold the key to repairing serious eye conditions.

With further research, these and other discoveries may lead to new treatments and ways of managing risk factors.

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