Strategic Goals

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The Glaucoma Research Foundation funds promising, innovative research projects that meet the criteria of our Strategic Goals:

I. Protect and Restore the Optic Nerve

Protecting and restoring the optic nerve is key to stopping the progression of glaucoma. Every advance that is made toward understanding ways to protect the optic nerve from the damage that leads to visual field loss in glaucoma brings us a step closer to helping those with glaucoma, and those at risk, to lead healthy, fulfilling lives.

II. Understand the Intraocular Pressure System and Develop Better Treatments

To date, reduction of Intraocular Pressure, or IOP, is the scientifically proven method for treating glaucoma. Lowering the IOP helps to protect the optic nerve from further damage. Although researchers now agree that lowering IOP is only a partial solution, there is no doubt that a better understanding of the relationship between IOP and glaucoma will continue to lead the way to better glaucoma treatment therapies.

III. Accurately Monitor Glaucoma’s Progression

Glaucoma often affects the optic nerve and the retina many years before patients experience any vision loss, so early diagnosis and detection is the most effective way to limit damage to the optic nerve and prevent disease progression. Since damage is irreversible once it occurs, developing new technologies to accurately track structural and functional changes and monitor glaucoma progression is essential for scientists and specialists seeking to understand the disease and discover ways to minimize or even reverse its progression.

IV. Finding the Genes Responsible for Glaucoma

There are many different forms of glaucoma, and the most common types are hereditary. Genes are the material that control all the cells that make up the human body. Despite many years of research, scientists still don’t know why glaucoma develops in some people and not in others. However, it is known that a family history of glaucoma is a risk factor for developing glaucoma. Finding the genes that cause glaucoma will help researchers develop new methods of testing people at risk based on a simple blood test. Furthermore, identifying the genes responsible for glaucoma will help scientists better understand the underlying causes of the disease, and may lead the way to modalities for intervention.

V. Determine the Risk Factors of Glaucoma

Some people are at higher risk for glaucoma. Known risk factors are age, race, family history, and other medical or eye conditions (especially high intraocular pressure). While some people with one or more risk factors may never develop glaucoma, others develop the disease and have no known risk factors. A better understanding of glaucoma’s risk factors will help researchers piece together the larger glaucoma puzzle. Knowing the risk factors will help people at risk to make healthy lifestyle choices and assist eye doctors to make earlier diagnoses and clinically monitor the progress of their at risk patients.

Last reviewed on April 05, 2011

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