View Accessibility Controls Skip to main content

10 September 2015

National Eye Health Week: International Glaucoma Association Announces New Liverpool Research Project

The International Glaucoma Association (IGA) announces a new Liverpool based research projects during National Eye Health Week* (21-27 September) in a bid to improve treatments and quality of life for glaucoma patients.
Mitochondrial Dysfunction in the Commonest Form of Glaucoma’
The IGA and the UK and Eire Glaucoma Society (UKEGS) is funding research by Dr Neeru Vallabh of the University of Liverpool to understand the role mitochondrial defects and mutations play in the development of the commonest form of glaucoma: primary open angle glaucoma (POAG).
A few studies have detected evidence of mitochondrial gene defects in glaucoma. New gene sequencing techniques have emerged which lend themselves to the study of mitochondrial genetics. A pilot study in 30 glaucoma patients which has just been published used this technology to detect disease causing DNA mutation in 50% of the patients. The new IGA and UKEGS study aims to build on this work and investigate the effect these mutations have on the development of glaucoma.

Dr Vallabh explains: ‘Our lack of understanding of the causes of glaucoma is a major obstacle to the development of new therapeutic approaches for this significant condition. Identifying the role of mitochondrial defects and mutations in the development of glaucoma will increase our understanding of this common, sight-threatening condition.’


Commenting on the new Liverpool University research project, CEO of the IGA Russell Young says, ’We are delighted to be announcing this new research project during National Eye Health Week, which may help inform the development of new treatments for glaucoma patients. Dr Vallabh of the University of Liverpool is extremely respected in ophthalmology and we are delighted to be working with her on this pioneering glaucoma research project.’
Note to editors:

Glaucoma is the name given to a group of eye conditions in which the main nerve to the eye (the optic nerve) is damaged where it leaves the eye. This nerve carries information about what is being seen from the eye to the brain and as it becomes damaged vision is lost.

*National Eye Health Week
National Eye Health Week is an annual event where eye care charities, organisations and health professionals from across the UK join together to promote the importance of eye health and the need for regular sight tests for all.
For further information or to interview an IGA spokesperson, please contact:
Annabel Hillary, 07884 430862,
or Mary-Jane Greenhalgh, 07866 722051,
or Karen Brewer on: DD: 01233 64 81 69; M: 07976 08 52 40;,

For more information about glaucoma, visit:
About the International Glaucoma Association:
1. The International Glaucoma Association (IGA) is the charity for people with glaucoma, with the mission to raise awareness of glaucoma, promote research related to early diagnosis and treatment, and to provide support to patients and all those who care for them. For more information, please visit:
2. Set up in 1974, it is the oldest patient based glaucoma association in the world and it is a Charity Registered in Scotland, England & Wales.
3. As part of its support services, it operates the IGA Sightline (helpline) and provides free information on any aspect of glaucoma.
4. For more information about glaucoma, contact the International Glaucoma Association (IGA) Sightline on 01233 64 81 78 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am–5.00pm).