The Glaucoma Center of Excellence was established with the explicit goal of shrinking the timeline in bringing sight-saving advances to our patients and people throughout the world.
Janey L. Wiggs, MD, PhD
See a list of Glaucoma faculty
Glaucoma encompasses several conditions that cause optic neuropathy, or damage to the optic nerve. Glaucoma affects an estimated 60 million people worldwide—making it the second leading cause of blindness worldwide according to the World Health Organization. Primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) is the most common form of glaucoma; it is associated with increased intraocular pressure (IOP), also known as ocular hypertension, which may in turn lead to retinal ganglion cell death and optic neuropathy. Secondary glaucoma occurs as a complication of eye surgeries, injuries, infections, or other ophthalmic conditions. Glaucoma may even occur without increased IOP in normal tension glaucoma. Many kinds of glaucoma have strong genetic and/or environmental risk factors, and any form of the disease can cause irreversible blindness if left untreated.
The most common forms of glaucoma have complex inheritance patterns that seem to involve multiple genetic and environmental factors. Research programs in glaucoma investigate risk factors for glaucoma, as well as methods for early disease detection and novel therapeutics. By identifying genes associated with glaucoma, scientists hope to develop screening tests that allow rapid risk assessment and targeted treatment. The emerging importance of environmental cues may also lead to new strategies for preventing or averting this potentially blinding disease.
Glaucoma Research Areas:
- Intraocular pressure regulation
- Ganglion cell biology and neuroprotection
- Optic nerve imaging
- Novel surgical approaches
- Epidemiology and environmental factors