Glaucoma: New Eye Test Can Save Millions From Permanent Blindness



DARC Eye Test-Experts have come up with a test that can detect glaucoma early enough.

Glaucoma is an incurable eye disease and the leading cause of blindness in the world today.

It commonly has no warning signs but is noticed as the person gets older and the vision has been greatly affected. It leads to irreparable vision loss which worsens in time without due attention.

With the new DARC eye test, a patient’s vision would no longer get to a deteriorated stage before the condition is diagnosed.

Professor Francesca Cordeiro, from University College London’s Institute of Ophthalmology, who led the research shared optimism that the test will help detect the condition even before the late symptoms begin to manifest.

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“Although detection has been improving, most patients have lost a third of vision by the time they are diagnosed.”

“Now, for the first time, we have been able to show individual cell death and detect the earliest signs of glaucoma.”

“While we cannot cure the disease, our test means treatment can start before symptoms begin.”

The new DARC eye test discovers the condition as early as 10 years before it takes effect on an individual’s vision.

A total of 16 persons participated in the study- 8 patients with evidence of retinal neurodegeneration and 8 healthy individuals.

The new Glaucoma eye test called DARC (Detection of Apoptosing Retinal Cells) makes use of a fluorescent dye that sticks to the cells in the retina that are about to die.

The fluorescent marker attaches to cell proteins when injected into patients.

Glaucoma is detected if “unhealthy” cells appear as white fluorescent spots during the eye examination. The optician notices this if he looks at the back of the eye and notices that the retina is illuminated in white fluorescent dots.

More researches into the DARC eye test are still expected.

In the future it is believed that the new test would also help in detecting neurological conditions such as: Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis.

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So What Is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a condition that is caused by the death of retinal cells at the back of the eye. It occurs when there is a damage to the eye’s optic nerve which transmits images to the brain.

This damage is often caused by an abnormally high intraocular pressure in the eye.

It occurs to people of all ages but mostly in older adults.

Glaucoma can be hereditary or as a result of other eye activities or treatments. It could also be caused by eye injuries, severe eye infection, blocked blood vessels inside the eye, and other inflammatory conditions.

The most common form of glaucoma is the open-angle glaucoma. This is where the drainage angle formed by the cornea and iris remains open, but the trabecular mesh-work is partly blocked. This increases the intraocular pressure.

The symptoms for the open-angle glaucoma include:

  • Patchy blind spots in your side (peripheral) or central vision
  • Tunnel vision in the advanced stages

Another form of the eye condition is the angle-closure glaucoma.

According to WebMD this occurs when the iris bulges forward to narrow or block the drainage angle formed by the cornea and iris.

As a result, fluid can’t circulate through the eye and pressure increases. common symptoms of this are: severe headache, eye pain, nausea and vomiting, blurred vision, redness of the eye and sensitivity to light.