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Stress Triggers Aging of the Eye

According to recent studies from the University of California, Irvine, aging plays a significant role in the death of retinal ganglion cells in glaucoma, and new pathways can be targeted when developing new therapies for glaucoma patients.

Today, Aging Cell published the study. Dorota Skowronska-Krawczyk, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the departments of physiology & biophysics and ophthalmology and a member of the faculty at the Center for Translational Vision Research at the University of California, Irvine, describes the transcriptional and epigenetic changes occurring in the aging retina with her coworkers.

The research team demonstrates how stress, such as increased intraocular pressure (IOP) in the eye, causes epigenetic and transcriptional changes in retinal tissue that are similar to those associated with aging. And how repeated stress in young retinal tissue causes features of accelerated aging, such as an accelerated epigenetic age.

All cells within an organism are impacted by aging, which is a universal process. It is a significant risk factor for glaucoma, a group of neuropathies that affects the eyes. According to current projections, there will be over 110 million people with glaucoma (aged 40 to 80) by 2040 as a result of the aging populations around the world.