- Title: USA: GENETIC RESEARCH CONDUCTED INTO CAUSES OF GLAUCOMA.
- Date: 1st March 2001
- Summary: BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, UNITED STATES (RECENT) (REUTERS) CU: PHOTOGRAPH OF OPTIC NERVE CU: PHOTOGRAPH OF OPTIC NERVE WITH GLAUCOMA
- Embargoed: 16th March 2001 12:00
- Location: BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Topics: Health,Quirky,Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVA8WZA6I2PV7DY0BOJDYWXI9XVJ
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- Story Text: The vision of millions of people around the world is affected by glaucoma, a debilitating disease caused by drainage problems in the eye which result in a buildup of pressure on the eyes' optic nerve.
Glaucoma is a disease of the eyes that results in blurred peripheral vision. The disease affects 3 million Americans and an estimated 67 million people worldwide Glaucoma is caused by pressure built up on the optic nerve due to a drainage problem in the front of the eye. A sick optic nerve is characterized by shriveled blood vessels and a puffy appearance. There is no cure for glaucoma, but treatments include eye drops, laser surgery and invasive surgery.
The likelihood of being stricken with glaucoma increases with age. High risk groups include African-Americans, those with a have a family history of glaucoma and anyone over the age of forty. Those at high risk should have eye exams at least once a year, according to Dr. Eve Higginbotham, M.D., University of Maryland and National Eye Institute.
All other people should have their eyes examined at least every two years, and make sure to ask the right questions. In order to monitor for glaucoma patients should inquire about the health of their optic nerve and they should have their peripheral vision tested.
At the University of Maryland, Dr. Steve Bernstein, M.D., Ph. D, is conducting genetic research with the goal of finding a cure for glaucoma. Bernstein has helped identify the 20 ocular genes that change during age out of a total of 50,000 genes that make up the eye. Bernstein hopes this will help scientists determine the genetic cause of glaucoma and that ultimately genetic intervention will be one way to prevent the disease.
Dr. Bernstein says "If you can stop the aging process by altering those genes then its possible to prevent age related diseases associated with those genes."
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