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Aurora magazine

Glaucoma: new genetic markers signal the risk

An Australian research team has identified new genetic markers for glaucoma. The researchers involved over 134 thousand people from all over the world. Thanks to genetic analysis, they identified the anomalies that increase the risk of contracting the disease. Leading the international team was the Institute of Medical Research, University of Tasmania.

Scientists have identified 101 genetic markers, of which 85 unknown to date. The latter affect pressure in the eye, one of the reasons the disease develops. Thanks to the discovery, perhaps it will be possible to develop genetic tests for early diagnosis. In fact, today there are no ways to detect glaucoma in the very early stages.

Loss of peripheral vision is the first symptom of glaucoma, but appears only when the disease is already in an advanced stage. Dr. Alex Hewitt then led the present study, so as to make early diagnosis possible. According to the data collected, those who show genetic variants have 6 times the risk of developing the disease. There is more.

The treatments available today are aimed at reducing the pressure in the eye. The discovery of new genetic variants could offer alternatives, so as to develop new therapies. In addition, it would improve the diagnosis and offer the possibility to work on preventive treatments.