New test eyed for glaucoma
AUSTRALIAN researchers have identified 107 genes that increase a person’s risk of developing glaucoma and developed a test to detect those at risk of going blind from it.
Work led by QIMR Berghofer and Flinders Uni has been published in Nature Genetics.
The researchers now want 20,000 people to sign up to their study so they can find more genes involved in the disease.
Glaucoma is a group of diseases causing progressive degeneration of the optic nerve and loss of vision.
It is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide and is predicted to affect 76 million people by 2020.
Although there is no cure for glaucoma, treatment can slow or halt the rate of disease progression in most cases. Up to 50 per cent of people with the disease do not know.
Lead researcher Professor Stuart MacGregor said identifying the genes allowed them to develop a glaucoma polygenic risk that can predict who is likely to get the eye disease.
“Glaucoma is a genetic disease and the best way to prevent the loss of sight from glaucoma is through early detection,” Prof MacGregor said.
“Our study found that by analysing DNA collected from saliva or blood, we could determine how likely a person was to develop the disease and who should be offered early treatment and/or monitoring.”
To take part visit www.qimrberghofer.edu.au/ genetics-of-glaucoma, email Glaucoma_Genetics@ qimrberghofer.edu.au or phone 07 3845 3981.