A huge number of older people in the world are affectedfrom glaucoma - an irreversible eye disease that can lead to complete blindness. About 5 million people in the world have lost their eyesight from this dangerous disease. The development of scientists from the Georgia Tech Institute, who have created a drug capable of containing the spread of the disease for a long time, will be able to save vision in people suffering from glaucoma.
Prophylactic injection given whentesting the drug on rabbits, was able to restrain the development of glaucoma for 4 months, and theoretical calculations show that the duration of the drug's action can reach 6 months. Scientists used hyaluronic acid, popular today, as the basis for the new drug.
Glaucoma formation is caused by increasedintraocular pressure, which in turn is provoked by a decrease in the outflow of "aqueous humor" (lat. humor aquosus) from the eyes. The accumulation of fluid leads to an increase in pressure, damaging the optic nerve and provoking the development of glaucoma. The outflow of fluid from the eyes is carried out through two channels: the trabecular meshwork in the front of the eye and the suprachoroidal space between the front and back of the eye.
Trabecular meshwork in people with early stageglaucoma has already changed and is unable to perform its functions. What remains is the suprachoroidal space, with which the scientists from Georgia worked. The main idea of the new technique is to install a kind of spacer that does not allow the suprachoroidal space to "collapse". This is achieved with the help of an injection of hyaluronic acid, which, when it enters a humid environment, forms a hydrogel that leaves the space open and provides a constant outflow of fluid and, as a result, a decrease in intraocular pressure and inhibition of the development of glaucoma.
Currently, the effectiveness of the technique hasthe duration is 4 months, but the estimated time of the hydrogel in the body is 6 months, then the injection is repeated. The injection procedure itself is painless and is performed using an ultra-thin needle about 1 mm long. The introduction of the new technique will allow people at an early stage of glaucoma formation, after a single injection, to forget about the disease for six months. Modern certified glaucoma containment techniques are based on the daily use of eye drops, which causes discomfort and difficulties in older patients.