Scientists Hypothesize That Optic Nerve Axons Damage And Ganglione Cell Changes Create Glaucoma Disease

29 July 2015
 Categories: Health & Medical , Blog


Glaucoma is an eye disease that mostly affects the elderly. It is quite often not diagnosed in its early development. When diagnosed in later development, damage to the optic nerve cannot be reversed. Ophthalmologists encourage people to obtain glaucoma screening annually so that treatment can begin for early symptoms. Intraocular pressure is generally blamed for glaucoma disease that can lead to blindness. However, researchers are now theorizing that glaucoma may very well be a brain disease and not an eye disease. They infer that the brain and not the eye control cellular processing is where glaucoma disease arises.

How The Theory Comes Together

Researchers from America and Australia are of one accord in stating that neural or nerve damage occurring in the brain, as a result of strokes or tumors, results in identical visual field loss in both eyes of a patient.

Axions At Work

The scientists note that when axons in your disabled optic nerve recover, any remaining vision loss areas of your eye are identically matched in both eyes. Another process then emerges wherein bundles of smaller axons are lost as other axons in your larger optic nerve transmit sight information to your brain. The researchers say this activity is a pruning process that is intentional in order for remaining vital optic nerve axons to remain healthy. They report that the phenomenon of nerve axon activity is directly under the careful control of your brain.

Binocular Field Hypothesis

The scientists' hypothesis is that your brain tries to allow the best binocular field possible but that there is an unknown active neuro-protective substance at work in this process, which prevents unwanted pruning that would result in good binocular field vision. They conclude that a natural optimization of binocular vision functioning results in central nervous system involvement that relates to development of glaucoma.

Ganglion Cell Damage By Glaucoma

Your eye's retina and optic nerve is anatomically a part of your brain in their early development stage. However, scientists say that along the way a small part of your brain branches out to become the retina and optic nerve. Visual information is conducted through retinal ganglion neuron cells. That information travels through your optic nerve and is routed to the rest of your brain. It is the ganglion cell that scientists say eventually becomes damaged by glaucoma.

Match of Injured Optic Nerve Axons and Ganglion Cell

Researchers maintain that the optic nerve remains as a major focus in their studies of the underlying causes of glaucoma. The consensus of opinion is that optic nerve damage causes retinal ganglion cell changes, which then results in cell death. They note that injured optic nerve axons and retinal ganglion cell loss do match peripheral vision damage from glaucoma in cases like your glaucoma disease condition. Contact professionals like those from Coastal Eye Care for more information.