Can Nerve Growth Factor Eye Drops Protect Retinal and Optic Nerve Cells From Damage Caused by Glaucoma?

August 12, 2009

Researchers in Italy found the use of nerve growth factor eye drops (NGF) protects retinal ganglion cells from damage caused by high eye pressure in glaucoma. This was reported in the August 3rd online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers first studied the effects of the NGF drops in a rat model of glaucoma and found that 200 µg/mL of NGF was effective in preventing retinal cell death—more so than a 100 µg/mL dose. Three patients with progressive visual field defects despite IOP control were also treated with NGF eye drops; these patients underwent electrofunctional tests at baseline, after 3 months of NGF eye drops and after follow up.

The researchers found that there was significantly less retinal ganglion cell loss with NGF treatment. The patients treated with NGF showed improvements in visual field, optic nerve function, visual acuity and contrast sensitivity.

This is a very interesting finding because these eye drops may open up a new avenue of treatment for patients with glaucoma and other neurodegenerative diseases. Neuroprotection has been a new and active area of interest in the treatment of glaucoma; obviously there needs to be more research but these results are encouraging.

Read the abstract here.




Jump down to form below to submit your own comments

9 Responses to “Can Nerve Growth Factor Eye Drops Protect Retinal and Optic Nerve Cells From Damage Caused by Glaucoma?”

  1. Diane on June 27th, 2010 2:52 am

    I have normal tension glaucoma however my OCT tests over the last four years still show a thinning of the membrane even though my pressures have been maintained under 11 if not single digits.

    Would nerve growth factor eye drops be worth a try? Are these available here?

    FDA approved a drop produced by Genetech this month “lucent is”. Could this drug be tried for NTG also?

  2. irene on October 30th, 2010 12:37 am

    Where can one purchase nerve growth factor drops?

  3. Dr. Ari Weitzner on November 2nd, 2010 9:50 am

    diane- sorry i missed your question.
    ngf is still experimental. not available, unless you can find a reputable, world-class institution where they are conducting tests.
    lucentis is for macular degeneration and other vascular diseases of the eye, not glaucoma.

    irene- they are not available- still experimental.

  4. Inzan on July 10th, 2011 6:52 am

    Hello , I am a Glaucoma patient . I just want to know if there are any NGF eye drops for Glaucoma yet ? If not any possibility when we could see it ? I am just 28 years and I am pretty worried about my condition . Thanks in advance for your help ?

  5. ari on July 11th, 2011 1:19 pm

    ngf is in the very early stages of research. please contact a reputable, world-class eye institute to see what studies are being conducted

  6. robin prospere on July 12th, 2012 10:05 pm

    my husband is a diabetic and has been on 3 different drops a long while. He has glaucoma in his left eye and a eye doctor 5 tears ago told him his right eye had to be completely taken out so it was so he would not get glaucoma in his left eye. That is the one he has glaucoma in now and just the past couple months lost vision and a house call doctor came to our home and checked his eye and said the nerve was dead and nothing could be done,is this true since it has not been that long and just 2 weeks ago he could see shadows ? or tell if you was wearing a white shirt.

  7. ari on July 13th, 2012 8:45 am

    an oophthalmologist came to your house? if not, you need an ophthalmologist’s opinion.
    yes- one could go from shadows to complete loss of vision in 2 weeks, or even 2 hours. it depends on the pressure

  8. jenny on January 30th, 2014 4:54 am

    May I ask if there update on the experiment of nerve growth factor? And in what country is the experiment going on? Thanks!

  9. jenny on February 3rd, 2014 10:19 am

    May I ask if theres an update on the experiment of nerve growth factor? And in what country is the experiment going on? Thanks!

Trackback URL

Have insights to contribute? Please submit your comment below