It is one of the largest studies ever conducted of glaucoma that links to blindness and vision loss revealing that two genes are associated with primary open angle glaucoma (POAG), a common form of the disease.
The identification of genes responsible for this disease is the first step toward the development of gene-based disease detection and treatment, Nature.com reports.
About 2.2 million people in the U.S. have glaucoma. POAG is often associated with increased eye pressure but about one-third of patients have normal pressure glaucoma (NPG). Currently, no curative treatments exist for NPG.
Researchers including lead author Janey Wiggs, M.D., Ph.D., and Lou Pasquale, M.D., Co-Directors of the Harvard Glaucoma Center of Excellence, analyzed DNA sequences of 6,633 participants, half of whom had POAG.
Participants were part of two NIH-funded studies: GLAUGEN (GlAUcoma Genes and Environment) and NEIGHBOR (NEI Glaucoma Human genetics collaBORation), conducted at 12 sites in the United States.
Previous studies have also implicated TGF-beta in glaucoma.