Could a saliva test prevent vision loss from Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a treatable (but not yet curable) condition and appropriate intervention may delay or prevent blindness. Population studies have shown that half of those affected with glaucoma remain undiagnosed, because there are usually no symptoms in the early stages. Genetic testing is a promising method of identifying at-risk individuals and providing them with early treatment opportunities.


In the most common type of adult-onset glaucoma, close relatives of affected patients are almost 10 times more likely to develop glaucoma than in the general population, underscoring a strong genetic basis.




Bone from U2 has glaucoma


The latest investigations into a promising new genetic test for glaucoma -- the leading cause of blindness worldwide -- has found it has the ability to identify 15 times more people at high risk of glaucoma than an existing genetic test.

The research study builds on a long-running international collaboration to identify genetic risk factors for glaucoma. It highlights the potential of the test in glaucoma screening and management.


Genetic testing is not currently a routine part of glaucoma diagnosis and care, but this test has the potential to change that. The study is now in a strong position to start testing this in clinical trials.


The latest results benchmarked the performance of genetic testing on 2500 Australian individuals with glaucoma, and 411,000 individuals with or without glaucoma in the UK.


Our view:


As specialist Optometrists we are very excited about this research. The new test, performed on a blood or saliva sample, has the potential to identify high-risk individuals before irreversible vision loss occurs.


Once Glaucoma is diagnosed, several treatment options can slow or halt the progression of glaucoma vision loss.


Article written by

Mr K.Lakhani BSC MCOptom Dip Tp Ip

Specialist Optometrist.


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