Study Results of Glaucoma

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Involving a damage to the eye’s optic nerve, glaucoma affects one out of two hundred people aged fifty and younger. In contrast, one tenth of people over eighty years old are affected by this eye disease. Glaucoma has a long history and it is even nicknamed as the “silent thief of sight”. Most citizens are familiar with this condition. Until now, some basic points of glaucoma are undeniable and acceptable by most eye care practitioners, e.g. its harm to eyesight, types, signs and so forth. However, its definite reasons and effective treatments are less well-known by the public and even some eye experts. This is verified by many ongoing studies.

Eye drops for glaucoma control may cause serious depression

Professor Isaac Schweitzer from University of Melbourne described a severe case of depression directly associated with the use of glaucoma eye drops. He pointed out in the October issue of the Medical Journal of Australia that glaucoma eye drops such as beta-blockers should be avoided by older people in controlling high eye pressure. This report is really disappointing because these eye drops are traditionally believed to control intraocular pressure (IOP) effectively and slow down glaucoma progression.

Improperly formulated drugs for glaucoma control are quite harmful

In July 2008, a generic drug named Sandoz Timolol Ophthalmic Solution was recalled because of an error in formulation which contained an excess of an active ingredient. This drug was claimed to control high internal eye pressure linked with glaucoma patients. The warning was issued by Health Canada. Improperly formulated drugs can lead to side effects such as eye irritation, redness, inflammation, droopy eyelids, heart failure, shortness of breath, low blood pressure and so on. Patients using this generic prescription eye drop was required to stop the drug immediately and asked the doctor for an alternative.

Vaptans are suggested for glaucoma treatment

Researchers from Erasmus University Hospital in Brussels reported the potential of vaptans as a new drug class for glaucoma treatment. Vaptans was thought to regulate body fluids, so that they were suggested to control abnormal build-up of fluid and pressure within the eye. In addition, vaptans affect a hormone that regulates the body’s blood circulation and water control. Once proven effective, this sort of drug offers another treatment for glaucoma patients.

Glaucoma patients have lower cerebrospinal fluid pressure

According to Mayo Clinic researchers, low cerebrospinal fluid pressure can be highly associated with optic nerve damage in glaucoma patients. Fluids within the spine and the brain are responsible for maintaining healthy neural or nerve function. The researchers recruited 31,786 cases including healthy people and glaucoma patients, both of whose cerebrospinal fluid samples were taken for analysis. The result showed that patients with glaucoma had much lower cerebrospinal fluid pressure.

Gene sFRP1 is linked with increased eye pressure

Investigators led by Alcon Research revealed that there was a possible link between elevated eye pressure leading to glaucoma and “over-expression” of a specific gene named sFRP1. This new discovery may contribute to the study of the cause of glaucoma and elevating of intraocular pressure. New therapies to treat the underlying causes could also be developed.