Glaucoma is the most common cause of irreversible blindness. It is associated with a progressive loss of cells within the optic nerve head (ONH) at the back of the eye. Glaucoma remains incurable and its exact causes are not well understood. It was once thought to occur only in eyes with elevated pressure (i.e., intraocular pressure or IOP) and to date, lowering IOP is the only clinical treatment proven to be beneficial for slowing the progression of glaucoma. However, the success rate of such therapy is only 50%. Multiple lines of evidence now indicate that IOP is not the only important risk factor in the disease. For instance, while some patients develop glaucoma at elevated IOP (high-tension glaucoma), some develop glaucoma at normal IOP levels (normal-tension glaucoma), and some others with elevated IOP do not develop glaucoma at all.

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