Finding Glaucoma In Our Genes

Genes tell us a lot about ourselves, ranging from our height, eye color, hair color and pretty much everything else. If a recent report from a team of Australian-based researchers is correct, you might be able to add the likelihood of developing glaucoma to the list.

Looking Globally

This study based its findings on a worldwide analysis of 134,000 people. In total, the study authors identified 101 genetic markers associated with intraocular pressure, or pressure resulting from the accumulation of fluid within the eye. Intraocular pressure is commonly associated with glaucoma.

Moreover, the research team documented 53 genetic markers for glaucoma itself. It bears mentioning that the type of
glaucoma linked to this set of markers is especially damaging, usually leading to blindness.

More Research, Better Treatment

Of the report’s contributors, Professor Alex Hewitt of the University of Tasmania’s Menzies Institute for Medical Research, believe his team’s efforts enable doctors to better screen for glaucoma. “Our new research will improve our ability to identify people at risk of developing glaucoma,” stated Hewitt. “And this takes us one step closer to a preventative treatment that could stop people from going blind as they age.”

Hewitt and his fellow researchers believe that more breakthroughs are yet to come, noting that in 2019 the team “will be starting a large program grant that’s funded through the National Health and Medical Research Council that will really allow us to build the evidence base for these genetic tests in rational screening of glaucoma.”

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