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World J Ophthalmol. Aug 12, 2014; 4(3): 47-51
Published online Aug 12, 2014. doi: 10.5318/wjo.v4.i3.47
Glaucoma and Alzheimer's disease: Their clinical similarity and future therapeutic strategies for glaucoma
Tetsuya Sugiyama
Tetsuya Sugiyama, Nakano Eye Clinic of Kyoto Medical Co-operative, Kyoto 604-8404, Japan
Author contributions: Sugiyama T designed and wrote the introductory editorial for the “Glaucoma and Alzheimer’s disease”.
Correspondence to: Tetsuya Sugiyama, MD, PhD, Director, Nakano Eye Clinic of Kyoto Medical Co-operative, 2, Jurakumawari-higashimachi, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-8404, Japan.
Telephone: +81-75-8014151 Fax: +81-75-8227423
Received: March 29, 2014
Revised: April 30, 2014
Accepted: July 12, 2014
Published online: August 12, 2014

Glaucoma refers to a group of diseases characterized by optic neuropathies that are commonly associated with degeneration of the retinal ganglion cells. Although intraocular pressure (IOP) is the only proven treatable factor, several studies indicate that other factors are involved in the pathogenesis of glaucoma. Since normal tension glaucoma (NTG) is the most common glaucoma at least in Japan and South Korea, development of new therapeutic strategies for glaucoma, besides reduction of IOP, is crucial. The clinical characteristics and mechanisms underlying neuronal degeneration in Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disease, are similar to those of glaucoma. Impaired cerebral blood flow (CBF) is common to both these diseases; therefore, improving CBF may be considered a new treatment for glaucoma, especially for NTG. In addition, targeting the formation and aggravation pathway for amyloid-β and administration of apolipoprotein E-containing lipoproteins may be potential strategies for glaucoma treatment.

Keywords: Glaucoma, Alzheimer’s disease, Retinal ganglion cells, Cerebral blood flow, Amyloid-β, Apolipoprotein E

Core tip: This review summarizes studies describing the similarities between glaucoma and Alzheimer’s disease, thereby suggesting new probable therapeutic strategies for glaucoma.