The Immunology of Glaucoma


Vu KTH, Jager MJ, Chen DF. The Immunology of Glaucoma. Asia Pac J Ophthalmol (Phila) 2012;1(5):303-11.

Date Published:

2012 Sep-Oct


The presence of specific antibodies and T cells that are specific in patients with glaucoma supports the idea that the immune system may play an important role in the initiation and/or sustainment of glaucomatous optic neuropathy, at least in some patients. At present, our understanding regarding immunological mechanisms associated with glaucomatous optic neuropathy is far from satisfactory. In this review, we examined evidence suggesting involvement of autoimmune responses in the pathogenesis of glaucoma. These include detection of autoantibodies and T cells and expression of cytokines and stress proteins in patients with glaucoma. Although immune responses are thought to be detrimental, some responses may exert a protective effect against neurodegenerative damage. Likely, the balance between positive and negative regulators determines the survival or demise of cells. It is vital that research continues to elucidate the roles of the immune system in glaucomatous neurodegeneration and the possibility of alternative modalities of treatment. These studies may also provide valuable molecular biomarkers for the diagnosis and identification of a specific cohort of patients with glaucoma, that is, those with normal-tension glaucoma.

Last updated on 12/13/2018