The duo of Professors Ross Ethier and Mark Prausnitz from the Georgia Tech Institute (USA) have developed a method of preventing glaucoma, which differs from all existing ones in long-term effectiveness. Experiments carried out on rabbits gave a figure of four months, and the estimated period reaches six months. It takes just one injection to save the patient from the risk of glaucoma for this entire period.
The mechanism of formation of glaucoma is based on blocking the natural outflow of the so-called "aqueous humor" (Latin humor aquosus) from the eye. If it builds up, it creates pressure that eventually damages the optic nerve. The main drainage channel is the trabecular meshwork in the front of the eye, but if glaucoma has already begun to develop, it becomes deformed. There is still a suprachoroidal space between the front and back of the eye, and it is with this that the new method works.
The idea of the method is to inject into the suprachoroidal space a tiny drop of hyaluronic acid, a natural polymer that, upon contact with moisture, turns into a hydrogel. It is a viscous substance that is non-toxic and takes up some space. And thus acts as a wedge that keeps the suprachoroidal space open and allows the aqueous humor to calmly leave the eyes.
The polymer injection procedure is painless, the injector needle is less than 1 mm long. Over time, the hydrogel dissolves and a new injection is required, but doing them every six months is much more convenient than dripping special anti-glaucoma drops into the eyes every day.