Glaucoma, the collective name for eye diseases causing irreversible loss of peripheral vision may be often linked with too much pressure developing inside the eyeball. Apparently, glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide and affects around 300,000 Australians. Scientists from the Flinders University have uncovered two new genes involved in glaucoma that can help in designing novel treatments.
The study included groups from five other Australian universities that surveyed 4500 patients from every state in Australia and New Zealand. While analyzing the data, it was pointed out that 18 percent of the population carries risk variants at these two genes. So these people may be three times more likely to develop severe glaucoma than those who don’t. However, other unknown factors are also presumed to influence the overall risk for an individual.
The study findings can help replace routine monitoring and hit-and-miss treatment for glaucoma, by identifying patients at the highest risk of going blind. The found genes can possibly aid in developing completely new ways of treating patients that could delay disease progression and prevent blindness. Associate Professor Jamie Craig, lead investigator and colleagues will further be evaluating the way these genes connect to other biological measures that are relevant to glaucoma.
The study is published in the journal Nature Genetics.