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Approved research

Discovering the biological mechanisms underlying glaucoma and neurodegeneration by analysis of genetic and environmental determinants and associations with other systemic traits in the UK Biobank

Principal Investigator: Dr Anthony Khawaja
Approved Research ID: 36741
Approval date: July 18th 2018

Lay summary

Glaucoma is the commonest cause of irreversible blindness globally and affects over 60 million people. Despite this, relatively little is known regarding the biological processes that underlie glaucoma. We aim to discover which genes and environmental factors cause glaucoma, and which other illnesses are associated with glaucoma, to improve our understanding of what causes glaucoma. This can help inform patients how to adapt their lifestyle to reduce their risk of blindness, and can help lead to new treatments. Glaucoma is the commonest neurodegeneration, and learning about glaucoma may teach us more generally about other neurodegenerations such as dementia. Learning about the causes of glaucoma can help identify those at most risk to aid early diagnosis and treatment to prevent blindness. Understanding the causes may also lead to new treatments targeting novel biological pathways. The research will involve examining whether variations in multiple factors are more common in people with glaucoma compared to people without glaucoma. These factors will include genetic variations, lifestyle factors (including diet and exercise), as well as markers of other non-glaucoma diseases. The research will be exploratory with the aim of generating new ideas about what causes glaucoma. The full cohort will be included.