Researchers in the United States (U.S.) and Denmark have said that patients with ocular hypertension may exhibit superior antioxidant protection that promotes resistance to the elevated intraocular pressure associated with glaucoma.
Their findings were published online in the Journal of ‘Clinical Medicine’. Glaucoma is the most common cause of irreversible blindness.
The sight-threatening disease is defined by a progressive loss of the innermost retinal neurons with corresponding visual field losses. Despite current treatments to lower the intraocular pressure, 15 per cent of glaucoma patients go blind, and as many as 42 per cent will lose sight in one eye.
In general, glaucoma patients were vulnerable to increased intraocular pressure.
However, a particular group of patients had no glaucomatous neurodegeneration despite high intraocular pressure; these were patients with ocular hypertension.
The study by the researchers from Louisiana State University (LSU) Health Sciences Center Health New Orleans Neuroscience Center of Excellence and the University of Copenhagen, provided the first evidence that reported the discovery of a new mechanism to explain why patients with ocular hypertension do not have glaucoma.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, ocular hypertension was when the pressure inside the eye (intraocular pressure or IOP) was higher than normal.
The authors found that patients with ocular hypertension had increased antioxidant capacity and higher levels of anti-inflammatory, omega-3 derived chemical messengers involved in sustaining cell function in their plasma compared to patients with normal-tension glaucoma and age-matched controls.