The fight against glaucoma

13 March 18

written by:

Yewande Omoniyi

(more articles)

Fight for Sight funded researchers are fighting the silent thief of sight, glaucoma, through pioneering and innovative research. For World Glaucoma Week (11- 17 March 2018) we are shining a spotlight on the impactful research that is currently underway.

Characterisation of the mechanism of potential new glaucoma drugs

Professor David Selwood from UCL is testing potential new drugs to treat glaucoma. As glaucoma is typically associated with elevated eye pressure, reducing the eye pressure is the route that all glaucoma therapies take to prevent further damage.

There is an unmet need for new glaucoma drugs that lower eye pressure more effectively and reduce the pressure-associated optic nerve damage that causes vision loss. In some patients, the drugs currently available fail to achieve sufficient pressure reduction, whilst in other patients, reducing eye pressure does not adequately halt progression of the disease.

David Selwood is currently testing modified drugs in models with raised intraocular pressure (IOP). These models allow the effects of the modified compounds to be assessed for their ability to lower IOP and provide neuronal protection which will be taken forward to clinical trials.

Improving visual field tests for moderate and advanced glaucoma

The standard test used in UK glaucoma clinics to measure a patient’s visual field is not an effective test for those with advanced glaucoma. This variation of results from the standard test makes it difficult to monitor the effectiveness of treatments in the prevention of sight loss.

Professor Paul Artes from Plymouth University aims to establish a more effective and patient-friendly visual field test for patients with moderate and advanced glaucoma. This test will provide better information about a patient’s response to treatment, details about peripheral vision and a reliable account of the stage of the condition. A computer programme will be designed for and tested on glaucoma patients in order to determine the most useful and reliable test measures and procedures.

Changes in the visual cortex in glaucoma

Dr Tony Redmond from Cardiff University received a PhD studentship award to investigate the role of the visual cortex in visual perception associated with glaucoma. The researcher and his student will investigate how neurons across the visual cortex are altered and re-organised in patients with glaucoma, and to what extent these changes can support the recovery of vision in the early stage of the disease. 

Results from the study could provide information about the role of the brain in glaucoma. This could lead to an improved early detection method for glaucoma.
They will also be investigating the extent to which the visual cortex can reorganise to recover lost vision.

Click here for more Fight for Sight funded glaucoma research.