X-Ray Vision – X-Rays Could Prevent Glaucoma
In a recently published mouse study, researchers discovered that a single x-ray given to a young mouse provided durable and potentially lifelong protection against glaucoma. The scientists used a very small, 3 mm x-ray beam on one eye of the mice that were prone to glaucoma. They found that in the exposed eye, the mice were significantly less likely to develop glaucoma. Although this study will needed to be repeated multiple times for efficacy, it shows a positive outlook for glaucoma prevention.
The idea for this study came from an interesting source – atomic blast survivors. Scientists have noticed that survivors had a particularly low risk of glaucoma, and wondered what had kept the sight-stealing condition at bay. They believed that the rays protected against the complex early pathogetic process that occurred in the retinal ganglion cells and optic nerve head. These processes may eventually lead to glaucoma. In the mice, researchers found that the important retinal ganglion cells had survived, but only in the eye exposed to the x-ray.
The researchers suggested that both monocytes and endothelial cells played a part in the radiation-affected part of the eye. The resultant upflux of endothelial cells may deter the influx of monocytes into the optic nerve. According to the researchers, “our data support what we believe to be a new model in which monocytes are essential for glaucomatous damage and suggest that glaucoma is primarily a neuroinflammatory disease.”
If you are diagnosed with glaucoma, talk to your doctor about latanoprost eye drops, one of the most popular glaucoma treatments on the market today.