MIAMI, Fla. ( Ivanhoe Alert ) -- It can rob you of your sight before you even know there’s a problem. In its most common form, glaucoma has virtually no symptoms and there’s no cure, but a new trial is helping patients attack the condition non-stop.
"I built [my] house back in '71," Kenneth Smith, told Ivanhoe.
Now in his seventies, Kenneth Smith just renovated a bathroom and he’s working on another, all while learning the banjo. But one thing threatens to put an end to Kenneth’s active lifestyle.
"Glaucoma," Kenneth said.
Now, he’s enrolled in a unique trial at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute.
"It turns out glaucoma is a neurodegenerative disease," Jeffrey Goldberg, M.D, an associate professor of ophthalmology at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami, explained.
Doctor Jeffrey Goldberg says vision cells degenerate during glaucoma just like brain cells do in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. While standard glaucoma therapies focus on the front of the eye and eye pressure, he’s looking at the back of the eye and its connections to the brain. He believes a molecule called CNTF could be key to a breakthrough.
"It’s expressed all through the eye and the brain," Dr. Goldberg said.
To stop the progression of glaucoma and maybe even restore vision, he’s testing