Glaucoma is a disease of the eye where the optic nerve is damaged. This leads to a progressive loss of vision and has a degrading effect on the eye. Often associated with increased fluid pressure in the eye, it usually affects people who are older than 80 years of age. It has been nicknamed “the silent thief of the sight” for its slow, degenerative effect.
Over the past few years, a number of medical advancements have been seen in the treatment of glaucoma, some of which have been listed below.
1) Allergan Combigan Eye Drop has been recently approved by the FDA for glaucoma treatment. This eye drop has an alpha adrenergic receptor that inhibits the elevation of intraocular pressure in patients suffering from glaucoma or ocular hypertension. This reduces the need to undergo an adjunctive or replacement therapy for the reduction of elevated intraocular pressure. This is the latest addition to the Allergan treatment for glaucoma which previously included Lumigan and Alphagan.
2) Travatan, which is marketed by Alcon Inc, has also been recently approved by the FDA for the treatment of glaucoma. The active ingredient in this drug is a prostaglandin analogue and contains SofZia which is a a robust ionic buffered preservative system that is known to be gentler to the ocular surface than the previous preservative system.
3) Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) is a type of glaucoma laser treatment that uses a varied combination of frequencies. It selectively treats specific cells and leaves untreated portions of the trabecular meshwork intact. This is one of the reasons why it is believed that SLT may be safely repeated many times unlike many other glaucoma laser treatments. SLT may also be an alternative glaucoma treatment for those who have been treated unsuccessfully with conventional laser surgery or with pressure reducing eye drops.
4) Copaxone: It has been recently studied by researchers in Israel that vaccination with a compound called Copaxone which is normally used to treat multiple sclerosis, may be able to protect the eye from glaucoma. The researchers have found that vaccination with this synthetic compound protects the eye from the toxic effects of glutamate that may cause increased intraocular pressure (IOP) in people with glaucoma.
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