In a new study, scientists have discovered that a specific protein has the potential to be used to treat some patients with primary open-angle glaucoma.
Primary open-angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma, which is a group of diseases that affect nearly 70 million people worldwide. Glaucoma is characterized by progressive damage to the optic nerve which ultimately leads to blindness. In this new study, led by Dr. Sunil Parapuram, researchers examined the role of a protein called “phosphatase and tensin homolog” (PTEN) in the trabecular meshwork. The trabecular meshwork is a porous tissue in the eye through which the clear fluid that fills the eye drains out.
In some primary open-angle glaucoma patients, the structure of the trabecular meshwork is damaged by fibrosis. Fibrosis is a thickening or scarring of tissue which is caused by an excess amount of matrix molecules such as collagen. Fibrosis of the trabecular meshwork prevents the fluid in the eye from draining out normally, which leads to increased pressure in the eye and damage to the optic nerve.