Is there a hope to reverse glaucoma blindness?
Stem cells treatment for glaucoma is an exciting concept. However, no therapies in humans have been approved to date.
Stem cell transplants into trabecular meshwork cells in the front of the eye in the laboratory can lower eye pressure.
In the back eye, laboratories are working to restore vision by protecting degenerating retinal ganglion cells at the back of the eye. Also, several groups globally are working on replacing retinal ganglion cells and growing optic nerves fibers to connect these cells to the brain.
For these bold concepts to be brought to the clinic, safety and efficacy are to be demonstrated in animal models, followed by various phases of clinical trials.
What about children?
Children can develop glaucoma any time after birth, after trauma and after eye surgery. Infants should be referred to ophthalmologists to be screened for glaucoma if they have signs of tearing, aversion to light and enlargement of their eyes. Glaucoma should also be considered in any child with progressive nearsightedness, family history of childhood glaucoma and systemic use of steroid containing medications. Prompt diagnosis is imperative to save sight in childhood glaucoma.
The bottom line is everyone should get a complete eye exam by the age of 40 by eye care professionals. In addition to detecting early glaucoma, this screening eye examination may discover other common eye conditions that require treatment.
January is Glaucoma Awareness Month. Please help us save sight by sharing this information with your loved ones.