A major cause of blindness
Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve which, if left untreated, can lead to irreversible vision loss. It is currently considered to be one of the three leading causes of irreversible blindness worldwide. Glaucoma is frequently linked to elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) and is often due to blockage in the drainage system located in the front of the eye. Currently, reducing intraocular pressure remains the only way to slow the progression of the disease. Glaucoma affects millions of patients worldwide. About 3 million people in the United States between 40 and 80 years of age are affected by the most common form of glaucoma, open-angle glaucoma.
Current medications are targeted at reducing IOP to slow the progression of the disease. It is generally accepted that every mmHg of IOP lowering results in a risk reduction in open angle glaucoma progression of approximately 10% to 20%. Numerous eye drops are available to either decrease the amount of fluid produced in the eye or improve its flow out of the eye. Nearly half of the patients with open-angle glaucoma require more than one medication to lower their IOP to a target level at which visual field loss is likely to be minimized or halted. The requirement for multiple medications to lower an individual patient’s IOP to their target level highlights the need for more effective treatments.