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Glaucoma - More Than Meets The Eye?
Scientists have found changes in brain tissue in glaucoma patients. Loughborough Optometrist Mohammed Bhojani from Visual Answers explains more.
By: Visual Answers Optometrists
The findings are likely to have significant impact for the treatment of glaucoma in the future, which currently still focuses on reducing eye pressure at present.
Brain scans of 30 patients with normal-pressure glaucoma found there was significant degradation in several areas of the brain, unconnected to the visual system in the study published in the journal Ophthalmic & Physiological Optics (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/
However, the international team of scientists behind the study says that observing damage beyond the eyes visual system - which they described as a "remarkable finding".
The team explains that there may be a "brain component to glaucoma … independent from the eye damage" - something that may currently be going undetected and untreated as current approaches focus on IOP.
The study concluded that modern neuro-protective medication could also be prescribed to prevent degeneration of the primary visual pathways and other brain structures in addition to the standard treatment that is aimed at reducing eye pressure.
Lead Optometrist Mohammed Bhojani said:
'Glaucoma was commonly thought to be raised eye pressure that resulted in damage to the optic nerve that causes a gradual loss of sight and visual field without any obvious symptoms to the individual until its too late- the evidence now confirms that glaucoma is should also a neurological condition that can negatively affect other parts of the brain too'.
Studies suggest over 20% of the UK population have undiagnosed Glaucoma. Regular eye examinations are the earliest way to detect the condition at its earliest when the eye test includes measurements of eye pressures, visual field tests (FDT) and OCT 3D scans that look in detail at the optic nerve and can also measure the corneal thickness ensures the earliest detection of the condition. Visual Answers are one of the few optometry practices in the UK that has invested in this hospital-grade diagnostic technology that allows the early detection of Glaucoma and other sight-threatening conditions such as macular degeneration. Ask about the advanced diagnostic examination at Visual Answers at your next visit.
Visual Answers Optometrists