The growing understanding that glaucoma is a neurodegenerative rather than ocular disease is to be the principal topic of discussion of the annual Glaucoma Research Foundation (GRF) benefit, to be held 28 January 2009 in San Francisco, California, US. The Catalyst For a Cure (CFC) research consortium, composed of neuroscientists and geneticists, will present a Research Overview of the notable breakthroughs made in 2008.
CFC research has this year established that oxidative stress affects the rate of glaucomatous cellular function loss, and that neuronal loss due to glaucoma is preceded by degeneration of the axons, indicating that glaucoma can be predicted by observing changes to genes and proteins. The CFC is now concentrating on studying general features of neurodegeneration in the hope of discovering a therapeutic or interventional treatment to arrest or the development or reverse the progression of glaucoma.
During the benefit, Rohit Varma, MD of the University of Southern California will receive the President's Award and H. Dunbar Hoskins Jr., MD, executive vice president of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, will be presented with the GRF's highest honour, The Catalyst Award.