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Research to Prevent Blindness

Glaucoma

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Glaucoma refers to a group of diseases -- open-angle glaucoma, angle-closure glaucoma, low-tension or normal-tension glaucoma, congenital glaucoma, and secondary glaucoma -- where cells and fibers of the optic nerve are damaged, affecting the transmission of signals from the eye to the brain. It is usually progressive. At first there are no detectable symptoms but, eventually, vision narrows. Glaucoma can lead to blindness, but seldom does when diagnosed and treated early. 

View a video presentation on glaucoma from the National Eye Institute.

The eye is filled with nutrient-rich fluid, called aqueous humor. Normal intraocular pressure (IOP) is maintained through a balance between the fluid produced inside the eye and the amount drained. In glaucoma, excess fluid typically builds up because of a blockage of the drainage channels or filtering tissue called the trabecular meshwork. Researchers are developing treatments to help maintain the capacity of these drainage tissues.

Until recently, physicians and scientists believed that damage from glaucoma was solely due to increased intraocular pressure (IOP).  Medications and conventional or laser surgeries are typically prescribed to reduce the fluid build-up. Now, though, we know that high IOP does not always cause glaucoma and that glaucoma can even occur when IOP is normal.  Research supported by RPB shows that thickness of a patient's cornea may also be related to glaucoma onset.

Glaucoma poses an enormous public health problem. The government estimates that 2.2 million Americans have been diagnosed with glaucoma. Experts believe that nearly 2 million more may have the disease and not know it.

Order RPB Eye Disease Fact Sheets

Related News: Glaucoma

Dr. David Calkins

RPB and Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology Announce 2023 Recipient of RPB David F. Weeks Award for Outstanding Vision Research

David J. Calkins, PhD, is recognized for ground-breaking contributions to the field of vision research.

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New Glaucoma Research Grant Available

Research to Prevent Blindness and Aerie Pharmaceuticals are partnering to provide grant opportunities to support novel research in glaucoma.

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Research to Prevent Blindness and Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology Announce 2022 Recipient of RPB David F. Weeks Award for Outstanding Vision Research

Donald Zack, MD, PhD, is recognized for ground-breaking contributions to the field of vision research.

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Research to Prevent Blindness and The Glaucoma Foundation Offer Critical Funding for Early-Career Vision Scientists

The Career Advancement Awards—one focused specifically on glaucoma research—support novel science related to eye diseases by up-and-coming researchers.

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New Fellowships Support Under-Represented Minorities in Glaucoma Research

The Glaucoma Foundation and Research to Prevent Blindness have partnered to provide five fellowships in 2021 to increase innovation and diversity in glaucoma research.

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RPB Hosts Virtual Glaucoma Event

RPB grantees provide expert advice on glaucoma in the first event of the "Lunch & Learn" series.

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