Glaucoma, the second most common cause of world blindness, results from loss of retinal ganglion cells (RGC). RGC die as a consequence of injury to their axons, as they pass through the transition between the environment within the eye and that of the retrobulbar optic nerve, as they course to central visual centers. At the optic nerve head (ONH), axonal transport becomes abnormal, at least in part due to the effect of strain induced by intraocular pressure (IOP) on the sclera and ONH. Animal glaucoma models provide the ability to study how alterations in ocular connective tissues affect this pathological process. New therapeutic interventions are being investigated to mitigate glaucoma blindness by modifying the remodeling of ocular tissues in glaucoma. Some genetically altered mice are resistant to glaucoma damage, while treatment of the sclera with cross-linking agents makes experimental mouse glaucoma damage worse. Inhibition of transforming growth factor β activity is strikingly protective. Treatments that alter the response of ocular connective tissues to IOP may be effective in protecting those with glaucoma from vision loss.
- Retinal ganglion cell
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