Glaucoma Australia welcomes the announcement that the Australian Government will be investing $9.46 million into genetics research aimed at preventing glaucoma blindness.
The research grant would support the work of Flinders University Professor Jamie Craig along with three other key researchers: Prof David Mackey (University of Western Australia), A/Prof Stuart Macgregor (The Council of the Queensland Institute of Medical Research) and A/Prof Alex Hewitt (University of Tasmania).
National Executive Officer of Glaucoma Australia Geoff Pollard said, “The TARRGET Pilot Study, recently concluded by Professor Jamie Craig and colleagues, in partnership with Glaucoma Australia and the South Australian State Government has demonstrated that family history is a powerful contributor to glaucoma risk, as over 50 per cent of the direct relatives of people with advanced glaucoma in that study either had glaucoma themselves or are glaucoma suspects.
“Glaucoma Australia believes this new funding will lead to a better understanding of the genetics of glaucoma, leading to more people being diagnosed earlier and with less vision loss, resulting in a better outcome for the patient, their family and the community.”
Professor Craig will examine new ways to diagnose and treat glaucoma, promising better outcomes for patients. Improved care will also result from better targeting and treatments and monitoring of low risk cases.
It has long been known that a family history of glaucoma means increased risk but there are no symptoms or warning signs in the early stages. The damage it causes cannot be reversed, so early detection is paramount as it presents the best chance to slow the progression of the disease and prevent vision loss.
The TARRGET study shows that comprehensive screening of immediate relatives of people with glaucoma could aid in early detection and prevent vision loss. Glaucoma Australia hope to advocate for such screening programs to be readily available in Australia.
Subscribe to Glaucoma eNews