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Glaucoma Gene Discovery Brings Hope for Screening Tests

World Glaucoma Day   10-16 March 2013

Scientists at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR) have discovered new genes linked to open angle glaucoma in the only study of severe glaucoma in the world.

Open angle glaucoma, sometimes called chronic glaucoma, is the most common type of glaucoma, and tends to progress at a slow rate. Sufferers may not notice that they have lost vision until the disease has progressed significantly.

In two recent studies, QIMR’s Associate Professor Stuart MacGregor and his team have found some of the genes that increase the risk of this chronic eye disease.

“These findings mean specialists can now screen people for the disease,” Associate Professor MacGregor said.

“You can identify the people at highest risk, and ensure their eyesight is being closely monitored.

“What’s really exciting is that when you understand the genetic basis of a disease, the door opens for potential new treatments. You can also target existing drugs better to fix the underlying problem.”

Both studies were published in prestigious scientific journal, Nature Genetics.


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