Genetic screening could help to catch glaucoma early on so patients can be tracked and treated in time to save their sight, a new study has found.
Experts led by Dr Janey Wiggs at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary said genetic testing is currently able to indicate the presence of risk for several types of glaucoma, while heredity plays a "significant role" in the disease.
Dr Wiggs explained that blood or cheek cell samples could be collected from patients and appropriate family members, and then selected genes would be sequenced.
"We can identify markers for congenital glaucoma, early onset primary open angle glaucoma, and normal tension glaucoma, as well as several other conditions that increase glaucoma risk," she added.
It comes after a study led by Dr Jennifer Sun at the Beetham Eye Institute at Joslin Diabetes Center claimed that diabetes sufferers may actually be protected against proliferative diabetic retinopathy, even though previous research claimed they were at an increased risk of the disease.
by Martin Burns