A new study in the US may enable specialists to identify glaucoma earlier and halt its progression.
Researchers at the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, analysed gene expression patterns in the retina and optic nerves of mice that develop age-related glaucoma.
They were able to identify molecular signatures of early events which take place in the progression of glaucoma before there was morphological evidence of damage.
According to the experts, genetically and pharmacologically interfering with these changes protected the mice from developing the condition, which is one of the most common causes of blindness on the planet.
"Researchers believe that they have identified pathways that might be targeted in the development of new glaucoma therapeutics," the report said.
It comes after Sarah Zerbib, head of marketing and public relations at the International Glaucoma Association, said the fact that 250,000 people in the UK alone are losing their sight due to glaucoma at the moment means that awareness needs to be greater.
by Martin Burns