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SAN FRANCISCO — The second annual "Glaucoma 360 New Horizons Forum" sponsored by the non-proﬁt organization Glaucoma Research Foundation (GRF; San Francisco) was held here on Friday, February 1st.
GRF, which was founded in 1978 by three glaucoma specialists, is a national non-proﬁt organization that funds glaucoma research worldwide. GRF's major collaborative study, "Catalyst for a Cure," has redeﬁned how glaucoma research is conducted and fostered a tremendous surge in the understanding of this extremely complex disease.
The New Horizons Forum was designed as a means to bring together worldwide leaders in medicine, science, business, venture capital and philanthropy. It is a forum to share the latest thinking and ideas for dealing with glaucoma, which because of its symptom-less nature, has often been described as a "silent thief of sight."
Louis Cantor, MD, director of the Glaucoma Service at the Glick Eye Institute, Indiana University School of Medicine (Indianapolis), delivered a keynote address titled "State of Glaucoma Therapy 2013: Is 13 our Lucky Number?"
He noted two key conclusions from the myriad National Eye Institute (Bethesda, Maryland) glaucoma clinical trials: one, that early treatment and the lowering of intraocular pressure (IOP) is critical to minimizing the risk of disease progression and two, that it is vital to maintain a steady level of IOP over time.
Glaucoma researchers now hypothesize that the loss of visual input to the brain may result in early changes to the central nervous system. Indeed, Cantor said that "glaucoma is really a central nervous system disease."
He further opined that the central nervous system changes resulting from an elevated IOP are currently irreversible and that this strongly supports the need for earlier and more aggressive glaucoma therapy. Further, retinal ganglion cell loss, which occurs in glaucomatous eyes, ﬁrmly conﬁrms the need for "neuroprotection," or a means to protect these precious cells from injury.
Cantor expressed considerable enthusiasm for the various minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) devices that are either commercialized or well along in their clinical trials.
"These are very exciting new products and allow for safer and more effective procedures," he said.
Article by Larry Haimovitch, Medical Device Daily Contributing Writer, re-posted with permission. Larry Haimovitch is president of Haimovitch Medical Technology Consultants (Mill Valley, California), a healthcare consulting firm. His firm specializes in the analysis of the medical device industry, with particular emphasis on the current trends and the future outlook for emerging medical technology.
Last reviewed on October 29, 2017