Genetics of Advanced Glaucoma: Towards Predicting and Preventing Blindness

Research details

  • Type of funding: Fight for Sight / International Glaucoma Association Small Grant Award
  • Grant Holder: Professor Colin Willoughby
  • Institute: University of Ulster
  • Region: Northern Ireland
  • Start date: January 2018
  • End Date: March 2024
  • Priority: Causes
  • Eye Category: Glaucoma


Glaucoma is a common and irreversible disease of the optic nerve. In the UK glaucoma affects over half a million individuals. Glaucoma progression can have a severe impact on quality of life. In the early stages symptoms may not show, so many patients are unaware that they have glaucoma.

The study aims to identify the best treatment option for patients who present with advanced glaucoma via the ongoing Treatment of Advanced Glaucoma Study (TAGS). 450 participants have been recruited to further explore the genetics of patients with advanced glaucoma. Clinical data which includes intraocular pressure profiles, visual field, visual acuity data and DNA will be collected to form the foundation for future genetic studies.

This study will provide a firm basis for future studies to investigate the genetic basis of glaucoma. Potentially earlier diagnosis can occur due to understanding the genetic risk. Also, the severity of glaucoma and the rate of progression could be predicted in order to prevent future blindness from glaucoma.