The Future of Glaucoma Treatment

National Institutes of Health Glaucoma Simulation
Eye Disease Simulation from the National Institutes of Health
Eye disease simulation from the National Institutes of Health showing normal vision (top) and vision when suffering from Glaucoma (bottom).

Researchers in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine continue to make strides in the treatment of glaucoma.

Glaucoma is a condition that damages the optic nerve, the vital nerve that transfers visual information from the retina to the vision centers in the brain. This loss of optic nerve tissue, also known as “cupping,” is most commonly caused by an increased eye pressure when the clear fluid in the eye, called the aqueous humor, does not drain properly. A leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 60, glaucoma affects more than 3 million people in America, according to the Bright Focus Foundation.

While there is currently no cure for glaucoma, there are a number of treatment options that can help control the disease before a patient experiences advanced vision loss or blindness, such as eye drops, oral medications, and surgery. Ian Conner, MD., Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Chief of Ophthalmology at UPMC Shadyside notes that this is “an exciting time in the treatment of glaucoma. There are a number of new medical and surgical options in the past few years, with more on the immediate horizon. In the next decade, we expect a complete revolution in the treatment of glaucoma, including sustained release medications to limit the burden on patients, and better and safer surgeries that can be used at any stage of the disease.”

Medicinally, researchers within the department are developing pressure lowering eye drops that can be administered once a month, rather than multiple times a day. Additional research is also being done on using stem cells to treat the trabecular meshwork of the eye, potentially slowing down or preventing vision loss in glaucoma patients.

These breakthroughs in glaucoma treatment would not be possible without the continued support of Eye & Ear Foundation donors. With your support, doctors and scientists at the University of Pittsburgh are at the forefront of bringing these technologies to patients and developing the next generation of treatments.

To support these breakthroughs in Glaucoma treatment, donate to the Eye & Ear Foundation.