Scientists Look to the Brain to Save Vision
Glaucoma, resulting from sensitivity to increased pressure in the eye (intraocular pressure) that damages the ocular nerve over time, is a leading cause of vision loss. Treatment involves eye drops to lower eye pressure, surgery, or both. But these treatments don’t work for all glaucoma patients—some continue to lose vision in spite of therapy.
New research—Catalyst for a Cure, for example—is looking at treating glaucoma in different ways. One option might be to address age-related factors that reduce the sensitivity of the optic nerve head to increased pressure. Another might involve the field of regenerative medicine—restoring optic nerve fibers.
Like the brain and spinal cord, nerves, including the optic nerve, are part of the nervous system. Once damaged beyond a certain point, nervous system tissue cannot heal. According to researchers involved in Catalyst for a Cure studies, a new type of nerve-based glaucoma treatment might involve optic nerve regenerative, perhaps combined with techniques that can help the brain heal.
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