12.04.2012

IOP breakthrough leads fight against glaucoma

IOP breakthrough leads fight against glaucoma

By Adrian Galbreth

A new study has shed light on the regulation of intraocular pressure in the eye and could lead to new understandings of how to treat glaucoma, it has been claimed.

Experts working on the six-year collaboration between Bascom Palmer Eye Institute of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine say they may be able to bring hope to people suffering form the irreversible blinding disease that causes progressive visual impairment due to optic nerve damage.

In a report published in the new issue of PLoS ONE, an open-access peer-reviewed scientific journal, produced by the Public Library of Science, the key findings of the study are discussed by associate professors of ophthalmology Dr Richard K Lee and Dr Sanjoy Bhattacharya.

They note that the study validates their hypothesis that the response of aqueous humor to mechanical stimuli at the cellular level impacts the regulation of IOP through cells converting that stimuli into chemical activity.

"With elevated IOP being the primary modifiable risk factor affecting the development and progression of glaucoma, this advancement opens up potential avenues for effective and innovative manipulation of the pathway of aqueous outflow using mechanosensors and mechanotransducers," Dr Lee added.

As the current primary treatment for glaucoma is to lower IOP through the topical use of medications or eye surgery, this could, in turn, lead to meaningful intervention strategies, the expert pointed out.

Dr Bhattacharya said the success of this research is based on a strong, ongoing collaboration with Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, which is one of the few vision research centres in the world to have two mass spectrometers.

Mass spectrometers are now being used by other researchers at Bascom Palmer to identify mechanistic aspects of retinal degeneration and for unravelling mechanistic details of glaucoma pathology.

"We continually learn from one another how mass spectrometry can lead to more exciting discoveries. It is a very valuable tool in the work to combat eye diseases," Dr Bhattacharya.

by Emily Tait


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