Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A four-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Eye Institute at the National Institutes of Health will help University of Iowa researchers study the cellular events that cause vision loss in glaucoma. The award was effective Aug. 1.

Led by Markus Kuehn, Ph.D., UI assistant professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences, the team will investigate the degeneration of retinal ganglion cells. The death of these cells leads to vision loss, but what initiates and specifically causes their death is not known.

Current glaucoma treatment aims to decrease intraocular pressure and does not target the cellular pathways that affect survival of retinal ganglion cells. By understanding and eventually acting on those pathways, vision loss possibly could be prevented.