Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers Discover Glaucoma Not Just In The Eyes

Date:
March 21, 2000
Source:
University Of Toronto
Summary:
Researchers at the University of Toronto and St. Michael's Hospital (SMH) believe there's more to glaucoma than meets the eye - they have discovered that the disease associated with blindness affects not only the eyes but the entire visual system, including the brain.

Researchers at the University of Toronto and St. Michael's Hospital (SMH) believe there's more to glaucoma than meets the eye - they have discovered that the disease associated with blindness affects not only the eyes but the entire visual system, including the brain.

Current treatments for glaucoma - a degenerative disease believed to be caused by the death of nerve cells at the back of the eye - rely on eye drops or surgery to lower ocular pressure either by suppressing the formation of fluid or improving drainage from the eye.

"Our study shows for the first time that in glaucoma there is also a loss of specific nerve cells in the brain which control our ability to see colour and motion," says Dr. Yeni Yucel, a neuropathologist in U of T's Faculty of Medicine and lead author of the study which appears in the current issue of Archives of Ophthalmology. "The concept that glaucoma is a neurodegenerative disease affecting also the major vision centres in the brain is a major breakthrough in the understanding of this disease."

The nerve cells in the brain, or target neurons, receive signals from the nerve cells in the eye via the optic nerve and in return the nerve cells in the brain supply essential growth factors to the eye. "Good vision depends on a healthy eye with healthy connections to the brain," says study co-author Dr. Neeru Gupta, director of the glaucoma unit at SMH and assistant professor of ophthalmology at U of T. "This discovery really gives patients new hope because we can now focus on additional innovative treatment strategies similar to those aimed at Alzheimer's and Parkinson's patients."

Using three-dimensional computer reconstruction, the team of researchers counted the total number of nerve cells in brain tissue samples of experimental glaucoma and healthy controls. They found that forty per cent of the nerve cells - both in the eye and in the brain - in the experimental group were destroyed by the glaucoma, with greater losses occurring in the moderate to advanced stages of the disease.

According to the researchers, future studies will be directed at understanding why these nerve cells die. "It's clear that if we want to develop strategies to prevent the death of nerve cells in the eye, we need to also take into account what's happening to the target nerve cells in the brain," adds Yucel, director of the ophthalmic pathology laboratory in U of T's department of ophthalmology and research scientist at SMH.

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness and affects 67 million people worldwide. Although the disease can affect anybody, the elderly, blacks and persons with a family member with glaucoma are at greatest risk. Other risk factors that may be associated with glaucoma include diabetes, high blood pressure and near-sightedness.

This study was an international collaboration led by U of T and SMH. Other co-authors include Dr. Qiang Zhang (U of T and SMH), Dr. Paul Kaufman (University of Wisconsin, Madison) and Dr. Robert Weinreb (University of California, San Diego). This research was supported by the Smith Barney Inc. Research Fund of the Glaucoma Foundation (New York, NY), the Glaucoma Research Society of Canada (Toronto, ON), the Foundation for Eye Research (Rancho Santa Fe, CA), the National Eye Institute (Bethesda, MD), Research to Prevent Blindness Inc. (New York, NY) and the Joseph Drown Foundation (Los Angeles, CA).

CONTACT:

Steven de Sousa
U of T Public Affairs
(416) 978-5949
steven.desousa@utoronto.ca
http://www.newsandevents.utoronto.ca


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Toronto. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Toronto. "Researchers Discover Glaucoma Not Just In The Eyes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 March 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/03/000320130844.htm>.
University Of Toronto. (2000, March 21). Researchers Discover Glaucoma Not Just In The Eyes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/03/000320130844.htm
University Of Toronto. "Researchers Discover Glaucoma Not Just In The Eyes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/03/000320130844.htm (accessed August 30, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

3 Things To Know About The Ebola Outbreak's Progression

3 Things To Know About The Ebola Outbreak's Progression

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) Here are three things you need to know about the deadly Ebola outbreak's progression this week. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Who Could Be Burnt by WHO's E-Cigs Move?

Who Could Be Burnt by WHO's E-Cigs Move?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 28, 2014) The World Health Organisation has called for the regulation of electronic cigarettes as both tobacco and medical products. Ciara Lee looks at the impact of the move on the tobacco industry. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Director On Ebola Outbreak: 'It's Worse Than I Feared'

CDC Director On Ebola Outbreak: 'It's Worse Than I Feared'

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) CDC director Tom Frieden says the Ebola outbreak is even worse than he feared. But he also said there's still hope to contain it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins