London: In a breakthrough, scientists have identified three genetic regions in the human DNA present in patients with glaucoma, which could pave way for treatment and cure of the eye disease.
Known as the "sneak thief of sight" Glaucoma is caused by pressure inside the eyes resulting in gradual but devastating effects.
The discovery means that a way of pinpointing those at risk of developing the condition is a step closer, the `Daily Express` reported.
It could lead to the creation of a test to spot who may go on to develop it, meaning they could be treated before sight loss becomes irreparable.
An international team of researchers, including experts at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, has identified the first regions of DNA which are conclusively linked with angle-closure glaucoma.
"We looked at thousands of people with the disease and thousands without and identified three regions linked to the disease," Dr Paul Foster, a glaucoma specialist at Moorfields, said.
"We don`t know whether they definitely cause it but this gives us a better idea of where we should be looking to understand the mechanisms that trigger the condition," Foster said.
"It has given us the best evidence that we have to date of the molecular mechanisms that might control the risk of getting this disease," he said.
Glaucoma is the name given to a group of eye conditions which cause optic nerve damage and can affect vision. It damages the optic nerve at the point where it leaves the eye and is one of the four leading causes of blindness in the UK.
The study was published in the journal Nature Genetics.