Molecular Mechanisms of Steroid-Induced Glaucoma

Young Kwon, MD, PhD The University of Iowa

Project Details

Steroid medications are widely used to treat many inflammatory conditions. However, there can be undesirable side effects of steroid use, especially when they are used long-term. One of the side effects in the eye is the development of increased eye pressure, which can lead to glaucoma and, ultimately, vision loss. Approximately one out of every three normal people is at risk of developing steroid-induced glaucoma. Using donor eyes, Dr. Kwon and his team are comparing the differences between people who develop steroid-induced glaucoma and those who do not. It is already known that steroids influence which genes are turned on and off in the body's cells, including the drainage area of the eye called the trabecular meshwork. Dr. Kwon's research will help scientists understand why the pressure in the eye is maintained at a constant level in some people, and what goes wrong in the eyes of those who react to steroids with an elevation of eye pressure. It is hoped that this information will be helpful in finding treatments that avoid steroid-induced glaucoma, allowing the safer use of steroids in patients with ocular inflammation.