Jan 2, 2024

Latest in Glaucoma Research

Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damage the optic nerve in the eye and lead to vision loss. It is one of the leading causes of blindness for people over the age of 60. In January, Glaucoma Awareness Month, we’re sharing some of the trailblazing glaucoma research that Fighting Blindness Canada is supporting. This research is looking to understand more about the underlying causes of glaucoma and support development of new ways of treating or preventing vision loss caused by glaucoma.

Dr. Balwantray Chauhan (Dalhousie University)

Dr. Chauhan has developed a novel technique that allows him to create very high-quality images of the retinal ganglion cells that make up the optic nerve. The structure of retinal ganglion cells in a mouse model of glaucoma will be analyzed to identify characteristics of optic nerve degeneration during glaucoma progression. If successful, scientists will be able to more accurately measure if a new therapy protects or even regenerates the optic nerve in glaucoma. This would be a major advancement in the field and could help facilitate the discovery of new treatments for glaucoma.

Dr. Luis Alarcon-Martinez (Centre for Eye Research Australia)

Delivery of blood with oxygen and nutrients is essential for the health of retinal ganglion cells. It has been observed that blood supply is disrupted in glaucoma, but it was not clear how or if this impacted optic nerve survival and vision loss. Using cutting edge imaging technology, Dr. Alarcon-Martinez recently discovered that small tubes connect the blood vessels that regulate blood flow near the optic nerve and that these tubes break in glaucoma. Dr. Alarcon-Martinez is now studying how these tubes break and if stopping breakage, improves blood delivery and optic nerve survival. This project may lead to a completely new understanding of the underlying causes of glaucoma and open the door for new treatments.

Dr. Qianquin Wang and Dr. Jiaru Liu (University of Montreal)

Vision loss caused by glaucoma is considered irreversible because there are currently no treatments that can restore vision after the optic nerve is damaged. Drs. Wang and Liu are testing if insulin eye drops can increase optic nerve survival and even potentially restore some vision in a phase II clinical trial. This trial will include 100 participants who take insulin eye drops once a day for 6 months. We look forward to sharing the results of this study which aims to not only prevent further progression of glaucoma but also to reverse optic nerve damage.

Learn more about Fighting Blindness Canada funded research.

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