Brain Pressure, Eye Pressure and Glaucoma Risk

A study reveals a new feedback pathway between the brain and eye that regulates inner eye pressure, and the research may shed new light on glaucoma treatment.

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of vision loss, and it develops from stress on the optic nerve. Researchers have wondered whether intracranial pressure (brain pressure) may influence glaucoma development because optic nerve stress does not fully depend on eye pressure as much as it does the variance in pressure between the brain and the eye.

The new study from the University of South Florida shows concrete evidence that intracranial pressure and eye pressure are linked. The research team concluded this by “altering intracranial pressure in animal models and noting changes in the fluid drainage properties of the eye that could be blocked by chemicals that eliminate feedback signals from the brain.”

Now, the researchers are attempting to verify the exact location of the brain cells that are transmitting messages to the eye, as well as to pinpoint the nerve fibers in the eye that the brain mediates.

What Factors Influence Glaucoma Risk?

Glaucoma is a complex disease that can be difficult to diagnose. Recent studies link glaucoma to blood pressure and even poor sleep, yet experts are still searching for more answers on what causes the disease. The research team hopes this study will assist physicians in having a clearer understanding of glaucoma and effective glaucoma treatments.

Chris Passaglia, Ph.D., Professor of Medical Engineering at the University of Florida, feels optimistic about the findings of the study. “The drainage control system may service to protect the optic nerve from swings in eye or brain pressure,” he said. “Its discovery offers a new target for glaucoma treatment, wherein the modulatory mechanisms of the system might be exploited to help lower eye pressure and impede disease progression in glaucoma patients.”

What is a Comprehensive Eye Exam?

Do you know your glaucoma risk? Call your ophthalmologist to schedule a comprehensive eye exam for the whole family. A comprehensive eye exam provides you with an extensive evaluation of your vision and your eye health. An ophthalmologist will make sure your prescription is current and test you for degenerative eye conditions like cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration.

If you are not under the care of a board-certified eye doctor, click here and enter your zip code above the orange box. Clear vision is just a phone call away.

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