Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness globally and is one of the most heritable human diseases. Labelled the ‘silent thief of sight’; primary open angle glaucoma is a progressive neurodegenerative disease of the retinal ganglion cells that can be treated by reducing intraocular pressure.Treatment is highly effective in preventing glaucoma vision loss; however, as it is asymptomatic in its early stages, many individuals with glaucoma are diagnosed only after a considerable amount of vision has already been lost. Given the high heritability of glaucoma, genetic risk profiling is now being explored as a way to identify individuals at the highest risk of developing glaucoma and those who will require the most intense treatment. Combining rare glaucoma-causing variants in single genes with more common genetic risk variants across many genes means that clinicians may soon be able to effectively stratify glaucoma risk across whole populations. This promises to maximize the efficiency of healthcare spending by prioritizing surveillance of high-risk individuals and reducing irreversible vision loss through early commencement of vision-saving treatments.
- preventing glaucoma vision loss