UH Moment

UH Moment: Working Towards a Glaucoma Cure

“It is kind of applying Mechanobiology into studying Glaucoma.”

More than three million Americans are living with glaucoma, one of the leading causes of irreversible blindness worldwide. The disease damages the optic nerve, which connects the eye to your brain, leading to gradual vision loss.

"There is no cure for glaucoma. Glaucoma is generally managed," said Vijay Raghunathan, a biomedical engineer at the UH College of Optometry.

In a new study funded by the National Institutes of Health, Raghunathan will explore the ebb and flow of the liquid in the eye that controls eye pressure. In most cases, glaucoma is associated with elevated intraocular pressure, or IOP, caused by increased resistance to outflow of the liquid.

"It is kind of applying Mechanobiology into studying Glaucoma," Raghunathan said.

Raghunathan and co-principal investigator Janice Vranka of Oregon Health & Science University are trying to understand how to lower resistance to the liquid flow and balance the pressure in the eye. Raghunathan believes his work could improve the newest class of drugs approved by the FDA.

"If you try to understand the mechanism, then you could possibly try and adapt these drugs to manage the IOP and cure the disease," Raghunathan said.