Study Reveals That Brain Pressure Controls Eye Pressure, Providing New Ways To Treat Glaucoma
Medical researchers at the University of South Florida (USF) have discovered a novel feedback pathway from the brain
to the eye
that modulates eye pressure
, a significant advancement in the effort to diagnose and treat glaucoma
is associated with increased pressure
in the eye
due to a reduce ability of the eye
to maintain proper fluid drainage. The heightened pressure applies mechanical strain to the optic nerve as the nerve exits the eye
, resulting in vision loss and potential blindness.
For a long time, it has long been hypothesized that brain pressure
might also play a role in glaucoma
because the amount of strain on the optic nerve depends not just on eye pressure
, but the difference in pressure
between the eye
. The groundbreaking study published in the Journal of Physiology
shows, for the first time, that eye
and brain pressure
are physiologically connected. The neuroscientists came to this conclusion by altering brain pressure
in animal models and noting changes in the fluid drainage properties of the eye
that could be blocked by chemicals that eliminate feedback signals from the brain.
Interestingly, the eye
's ability to clear fluid changed in a manner that restored a healthy pressure
difference across the optic nerve.
Dr Chris Passaglia, Ph.D., Professor in the USF Department of Medical Engineering told Thailand Medical
News, "The drainage control system may service to protect the optic nerve from swings in eye
or brain pressure
. Its discovery offers a new target for glaucoma
treatment, wherein the modulatory mechanisms of the system might be exploited to help lower eye pressure
and impede disease progression in glaucoma
is the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 60. Since symptoms often don't arise until the condition has advanced, ophthalmologists
check the eye pressures
of patients during routine exams by administering an "air puff test." However, Passaglia says there are more complex aspects of the disease that make diagnosis a challenge. Some patients exhibit symptoms of glaucoma
yet have normal eye pressure
. While others with high eye pressure
, don't always show signs of the condition.
Medical researchers are now trying to pinpoint the location of t
cells that are sending signals to the eye
and find which nerve fibers in the eye
are being mediated by the brain.
This will help physicians better diagnose glaucoma
and have a greater understanding of what's causing it to develop.
Reference : Intracranial pressure modulates aqueous humour dynamics of the eye, Journal of Physiology., Kayla R. Ficarrotta , Christopher L. Passaglia, https://doi.org/10.1113/JP278768