Research aiming to elucidate the underlying factors for oxidative damage to the trabecular meshwork in glaucoma has led to studies of alterations in gene expression that may ultimately guide the development of genetic therapy for glaucoma, said Carla J. Siegfried, MD, recipient of the 2018 Shaffer Prize for Innovative Glaucoma Research.
Providing a history of her research, Dr. Siegfried said initial studies conducted in humans and non-human primates showed increased oxygen levels in the posterior segment, around the lens, and in the anterior chamber angle in eyes that had undergone vitrectomy and lens extraction compared with unoperated eyes.
The findings supported the hypothesis that excess oxygen may be the source of reactive oxygen species causing oxidative damage to the trabecular meshwork. Dr. Siegfried received the Shaffer grant to further explore this idea by trying to establish an oxidative stress model in rabbits. It turned out that rabbits were not a tenable model because of surgical complications, she noted.