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A. Finding Genetic Clues In Glaucoma

Narrator: This is Science Today. A gene linked to glaucoma has been found to be activated by both anti-inflammatory steroids and oxidative stress. Dr. Jon Polansky, of the University of California, San Francisco, says this finding sheds new light on who may develop primary open angle glaucoma, the most common form of the disease.

Polansky: The gene seems to be giving clues in some early work we're doing of who's more likely to develop glaucoma of a more severe kind than have visual field damage. So we're looking into those possibilities right now and the area of the gene is very interesting and seems to be showing that. So if these tests become available, then it wouldn't say you're going to get glaucoma, but what it would do is, it would tell you that you have a much higher risk and should be followed more closely.

Narrator: And the sooner you find out about glaucoma, the better.

Polansky: It still is the second leading cause of blindness even though there's so many drugs used to treat it. So it would be very good to be able to identify people early and then use all the sophisticated tests their ophthalmologists have for screening for visual field damage.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.