Studies are continuous across the field of optometry and ophthalmic research and glaucoma is a popular and persistent contender for study news worldwide. Traditionally the condition has been defined by increased pressure to the eye causing optic nerve damage. Newer studies are now announcing that it may instead, be linked more to a neurological disorder.
Philadelphia researchers have investigated the structural changes in the brains of fifteen glaucoma patients matched for age, race and sex. There were no neurological conditions diagnosed or reported for any of the group.MRI scans were presented to measure the volumes of 93 brain structures and from that to identify structures that differed significantly between the glaucoma group and the control group.
Five out of the fifteen brain structures differed significantly between the two groups, all of which are involved in visual processing and all of these structures were larger in the glaucoma group than in the control group.
Thirty eight percent of all brain structures within the glaucoma group showed a link between decreased volume and the severity of their condition.
These results suggest patients with glaucoma "undergo widespread and complex changes in cortical brain structure and that the extent of these changes correlates with disease severity," according to the study authors.