Queensland researchers have fresh hope they can prevent people going blind from the degenerative eye disease glaucoma.


Lines and numbers that are meaningless to most but are exactly what researchers have been looking for. This discovery we're reporting now is a major leap. In a global study, researchers from QIMR Berghoffer Institute identified 300 genes linked to glaucoma. 

The disease damages the eye slowly robbing someone of their sight. 300 ,000 Australians have glaucoma, half don't know it yet. This breakthrough could lead to a simple new diagnosis. 

Glaucoma is very highly genetic and so a genetic test has a lot of promise. Poling Tan was diagnosed with glaucoma in her early 50s. There was already loss of peripheral vision. She has a family history. Her brother has it, so does her daughter. 

But she has hope for her grandchildren. They're four and seven. By the time they get to 14 and 17, maybe these tests will be widely available. The research also identified drugs currently on the market which could be repurposed to target glaucoma, 

including one currently given to diabetics. It means new treatments might not be far away. Volunteers are needed for another study. You can sign up on the QIMR Berghoffer website. If we get to 10 ,000, that would be amazing. That would help us develop a more accurate test. Aiming to one day see a world without this cruel disease. Laura Dimick, 7 News.


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