Neuroprotection in Glaucoma: Drug-Based Approaches

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In recent years the focus of glaucoma research has shifted toward neuroprotection, as the traditional strategies of lowering intraocular pressure have been shown to be unable to prevent progressive vision loss in some glaucoma patients. As a result various neuroprotective drug-based approaches have been shown capable of reducing the death of retinal ganglion cells, which is the hallmark of glaucomatous optic neuropathy. There has been increasing evidence that glaucomatous neurodegeneration is analogous to other neurodegenerative diseases in the central nervous system, with recent work from our group elucidating a strong link between basic cellular processes in glaucoma and Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, there is a growing trend for using existing neuroprotective strategies in central nervous system diseases for the treatment of glaucoma. In fact, a trial treating patients with primary open-angle glaucoma with memantine, a drug approved for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, has recently been completed. Results of this trial are not yet available. In this review, we will examine currently advocated neuroprotective drug-based strategies in the potential management of glaucoma.

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