Elevated eye pressure, or intraocular pressure (IOP), is present in most forms of glaucoma. This can happen when the fluid that constantly bathes the front of the eye, called aqueous humor, and cannot drain properly.
Normally aqueous humor fluid drains through a spongy tissue known as the trabecular meshwork and flows into Schlemm’s canal, a ring-like passageway that then delivers it to the bloodstream.
The trabecular meshwork is the eye’s main drainage channel and offers a certain resistance to the outflow of aqueous humor that is needed to maintain steady-state eye pressure.
Blockages and other forms of resistance to the outflow of aqueous humor can raise eye pressure. In addition, eye pressure can be affected by fluid volume, and by other factors such as trabecular meshwork stiffness, which is reported to be 20 times higher in individuals with glaucoma than in normal eyes.
BrightFocus funded grantees are discovering new ways to control eye pressure, decrease trabecular mesh stiffness, and are looking for other novel mechanisms that help regulate eye pressure.
Explore More of Our 360° Research Approach
- New Knowledge About What Causes Glaucoma
- New Ways to Predict Progression and Treat Glaucoma
- Imaging and Exploring the Eye-Brain Connection
- Protecting and Regenerating the Optic Nerve
New Knowledge About What Causes Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases united under one name. Ultimately, glaucoma threatens sight by damaging the optic nerve, at the back of the eye which carries light signals from the eye to the brain. However, our knowledge of how and when glaucoma damages nerve cells remains imprecise.
New Ways to Predict Progression and Treat Glaucoma
Currently approved treatments for glaucoma primarily focus on eye pressure. Numerous therapies exist to lower eye pressure effectively; however, the bulk of them (eyedrops and surgeries) require skill and consistency to achieve results.
Easier methods are needed, as well as new therapies to address other underlying causes of glaucoma besides intraocular pressure (IOP).
Imaging and Exploring the Eye-Brain Connection
Eye changes associated with glaucoma contribute to tiny blind spots, known as “visual field defects,” which, if they worsen, might advance to vision loss and blindness. The chance of that, and the speed at which it happens, vary greatly from person to person.
Early diagnosis is key, and much progress has been made in imaging the eye to detect the tiniest changes that may precede glaucoma.
Protecting and Regenerating the Optic Nerve
Unlike most cells in the body, which repair themselves, the nerve cells providing our vision do not regrow once damaged.
BrightFocus is supporting research into ways of protecting cells threatened by advancing glaucoma as well as regenerating those cells after vision loss.