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.
National Glaucoma Research grantees are developing and using new technologies to look at individual retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) of the eye and their nerve fibers, which carry light signals to the brain. It’s challenging because RGCs are nearly transparent and very difficult to image. They are also using new techniques to detect changes to synapses, or connections between cells, and observe the energy regulation in the RGCs. The contribution of cerebrospinal fluid and other mechanisms is also being explored to better understand the eye-brain connection. This exploration may result in earlier detection and new ways to treat glaucoma.
Explore More of Our 360 Approach
- New Knowledge About What Causes Glaucoma
- New Ways to Predict Progression and Treat Glaucoma
- Controlling Eye Pressure in New Ways
- 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).
Controlling Eye Pressure in New Ways
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, gets clogged and backed up.
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.