The root cause of glaucoma has not been well established by scientists. Glaucoma results in build-up of fluid within the eye that eventually damages the nerve sending visual signals to and from the brain. New research has shed some light into the origin of this disease – a likely genetic component.
The research team found that mutations (changes) in the gene called Spermatogenesis Associated Protein 13, SPATA13, were found in a group of persons with the disease. Further investigations found that this gene was found in parts of the eye affected by glaucoma, therefore, reinforcing the link between genetic mutations and the development of the disease.
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of irreversible blindness worldwide; however, with the new knowledge of the genetic susceptibility for the disease, it may one day be possible to identify persons at risk earlier and also find new treatments.