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.
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