Glaucoma is a serious, lifelong eye disease that can lead to vision loss if not controlled. World Health Organisation has estimated that 60 million people has glaucoma and ~4.5 million people are blind due to glaucoma worldwide. Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve, which is the long “cable” that connects the cells that transmit all of the visual information from the retina to visual targets in the brain. Glaucoma is first and foremost an eye disease, and the initial damage to the optic nerve takes place in the eye. However, because the optic nerve is part of the central nervous system, one can certainly think of glaucoma affecting the brain. It is more appropriate that glaucoma is a neurodegenerative disease of the eye, although there are some influences of the brain on glaucoma and vice versa.
The factors causing development of glaucoma could be high mechanical tension in eye, disturbed intraocular blood flow, decreased intraocular perfusion, immune and genetics factors. Randomized clinical trials showed that decreased intraocular pressure not always helps to stabilize glaucoma in spite of the fact that intraocular pressure is the main risk factor of glaucoma. More than 50% of glaucoma patients have normal intraocular pressure (<21 mmHg), therefore normal tension glaucoma disease requires more consideration.
Earlier studies showed that NTG patients are characterised in lower intracranial pressure comparing to healthy control group. It is known that blood flow in retina is autoregulated in the same way as cerebral blood flow. Autoregulation of blood flow stabilize blood supply within certain physiological limits. However, decreased blood perfusion in the eye can influence on impairment of blood autoregulation in retina and progression of glaucoma. Diameters of retina blood vessels depend on retina neuron activities and this is called as a neurovascular interaction. If the central nervous system acts in retina in the same way as in the brain, then main question that we need to answer is – is the cerebrovascular autoregulation impaired for glaucoma patients? We hope to get answer by carrying out project activities by using non-invasive cerebrovascular autoregulation monitor developed at Kaunas University of Technology. This monitor was already tested by performing clinical studies on traumatic brain injury patients and cardiac surgery patients.
The main aim of this project applied by Kaunas University of Technology and Lithuanian Health Sciences University is to investigate cerebrovascular autoregulation in glaucoma patients and to develop personalized mathematical model of blood flow peculiarities within eye artery. The results of this project could also help to improve methodology of non-invasive intracranial pressure measurements applying it for diagnosing of neurodegenerative diseases.
KTU R&D&I Fund
Period of project implementation: 2018-03-20 - 2018-12-31
Project partners: Lithuanian University of Health Sciences