Optic Nerve Head Remodeling in Glaucoma

Ian Pitha, MD, PhD Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine


The goal of this project is to learn more about the processes that control eye remodeling in glaucoma in order to discovery new glaucoma treatments. The outer wall of the eye - the sclera - remodels in glaucoma, and this process influences how eye pressure affects the optic nerve. Cells within the sclera regulate this remodeling process and can either protect the nerve or make it more susceptible to damage. In the first aim , we will map how the architecture of these cells changes in the early and late stages of glaucoma. We hypothesize that increased eye pressure will disrupt cellular architecture. In the second aim, we will screen for compounds that restore normal cellular function and protect the nerve from pressure damage.

Project Details

Most neuroprotective approaches target nerve cells within the eye or their support system within the eye. Our approach is innovative as it targets cells involved in remodeling the eye in order to form a protective barrier around the optic nerve. Gaining a better understanding of the cellular processes that underlie scleral remodeling in glaucoma will improve our understanding of a fundamental - and little-explored - process in glaucoma and identify potential therapeutic approaches to better treat glaucoma.