New test eyed for glau­coma

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS -

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.

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