Researchers investigate new treatment for glaucoma

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As an avid reader, I find I can get through just about anything if I can decompress and escape into a good book — so the idea of losing my vision is scary. However, millions of Americans face this possibility due to glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness for those over 60.

Now, vision scientists at the University of California, Berkeley have discovered a new target for treating glaucoma, as recently reported in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Glaucoma is a neurodegenerative disease that affects the optic nerve. Typically, fluid builds up in the front part of the eye, causing pressure that irreversibly damages the optic nerve. If left untreated, glaucoma can lead to vision loss and permanent blindness.

Current treatments focus on lowering eye pressure using eye drops, oral medications, laser therapy or surgery. But researchers are searching for a way to prevent or stop the neurodegeneration itself. Berkeley researchers have now identified a new mechanism for stopping this degeneration in rats and mice with glaucoma.

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