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Predicting glaucoma before it strikes

Australian researchers have pinpointed five new genetic markers linked to glaucoma


New genetic codes associated with increased primary angle closure glaucoma (PACG) may one day help practitioners to spot the fast-developing disease before the first symptoms appear.

An international team have identified five new genetic markers, with the results published in a paper in the journal Nature Genetics.

The discovery was made in the largest glaucoma study of its kind, by comparing the DNA of 10,404 patients with PACG and 24,393 people with no history of the disease.

Paper co-author and Flinders University ophthalmologist, Profession Jamie Craig, said, as PACG can cause blindness if immediate assistance is not sought, the ability to determine who might be at risk of the disease would be invaluable.

“This will help to work out who is at risk of developing angle closure glaucoma so they can have preventative laser treatment before an emergency situation develops,” he explained.

Professor Craig said the genetics could also lead to a cure – or cures – for PACG. “This new discovery provides a handle to gain an understanding of the mechanisms of the disease,” he highlighted.

“We also expect, in time, that the improved understanding of the pathways of this disease [will] lead to new ways to more effectively prevent and treat this serious condition, so that permanent loss of vision does not occur,” Professor Craig concluded.