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Yale J Biol Med. 2016 Mar 24;89(1):73-9. eCollection 2016 Mar.

Neurodegeneration and Neuroprotection in Glaucoma.

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Yale School of Medicine, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, New Haven, CT 06510.


Glaucoma is the principal cause of irreversible blindness in the world. The disease leads to progressive optic nerve degeneration with a gradual loss of retinal ganglion cells. Neurodegeneration in glaucoma extends beyond the eye into the lateral geniculate nucleus and visual cortex, and the disease even shares some characteristics with other central nervous system degenerative disorders. Glaucoma destroys neurons through oxidative stress, impairment in axonal transport, neuroinflammation, and excitotoxicity. Autophagy may promote or inhibit disease progression. Currently, lowering intraocular pressure is the only way proven to delay glaucoma advancement. However, many new therapies are being developed, including antioxidants, adenosine receptor antagonists, Rho-pathway inhibitors, stem cell therapy, and neurotrophic factors. These therapies focus on neuroprotection, and they may eventually halt glaucoma progression or reverse the process of the disease itself.


glaucoma; intraocular pressure; neurodegenerative diseases; neuroprotection; stem cells

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