Led by Professor Geoff Raisman and Professor Ying Li at University College London in collaboration with Professor Peng Khaw at Moorfields Eye Hospital, this experimental project has shown that patients suffering from glaucoma can potentially be treated with their own stem cells. By transplanting a small number of their own olfactory ensheathing cells into the region of the optic nerve, this study has shown it is possible to halve the loss of optic nerve fibres caused by raised eye pressure and reduce the damage to the optic nerve tissue.
Glaucoma is the most common cause of irreversible blindness in the world today. In the UK, around 1 in 50 people aged over 40 have glaucoma. This rises to around 1 in 10 people over the age of 75. An age-related condition, glaucoma is becoming an increasingly common condition as the population of the UK ages. It is very commonly an insidious, progressive condition that causes damage to the optic nerve, and by the time it is detected some loss of vision has usually occurred.
Prof. Geoff Raisman, University College London