Is Glaucoma an Autoimmune Condition?

The consensus on the progressive blindness of glaucoma is that the primary cause is rising pressure in the eye, resulting from an age-related failure of fluid flow in surrounding structures. Medications that reduce pressure in the eye, such as by reducing the pace of creation of new fluid, slows down the loss of sight associated with glaucoma, but even after successful treatment the condition can still progresses towards blindness. Researchers may now have identified why this is the case, and here present evidence to suggest that a form of autoimmunity is the process that causes loss of vision.


One of the biggest risk factors for glaucoma is elevated pressure in the eye, which often occurs as people age and the ducts that allow fluid to drain from the eye become blocked. The disease often goes undetected at first; patients may not realize they have the disease until half of their retinal ganglion cells have been lost. Most treatments focus on lowering pressure in the eye (also known as intraocular pressure). However, in many patients, the disease worsens even after intraocular pressure returns to normal.

“That led us to the thought that this pressure change must be triggering something progressive, and


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