Study: Nerve Growth Factor Eye Drops, May Reverse Glaucoma

August 6, 2009

(ChattahBox)—A new study performed by Italian scientists, using eye drops containing nerve growth factor, may offer hope to Glaucoma patients suffering from advanced optic nerve damage. Although the human clinical study was only performed on three patients, the results were encouraging.

Researchers, from the University of Rome first treated rats showing symptoms of Glaucoma, with the eye drops containing nerve growth factor. All of the rats experienced decreased levels of optic nerve cell death to nerves, called retinal ganglion cells (RGCs).

Encouraged with their results on laboratory rats, the scientists went ahead and tested the eye drops on three human subjects with progressive vision deterioration. Two out of the three patients experienced improved vision, while the third patient’s condition stabilized.

The improvements to the patients’ vision lasted up to 18 months. The scientists theorize the nerve growth factor works by triggering chemical changes within optic nerve cells, which prevent them from dying and may also help damaged cells to bounce back.

The scientists also are hopeful that continued treatment with the eye drops might trigger healthy RGCs to form new pathways within the optic nerve, to compensate for any existing damage. However, dead optic nerve cells cannot rejuvenate.

Although the scientists still need to conduct expanded human clinical trials, they are encouraged by the improvement in vision experienced by both the rats and human test subjects.

Lead researcher Dr Stefano Bonini said, “…this is the first time that an improvement in visual function is observed in patients with advanced optic nerve damage.”

The study is available in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.



2 Responses to “Study: Nerve Growth Factor Eye Drops, May Reverse Glaucoma”

  1. Michael Edson, MS, L.Ac. on August 6th, 2009 5:11 pm

    This research is promising, though it may be very different in human trials. In the meantime, diet and specific nutrient supplementation can both help prevent the onset of glaucoma as well as help preserve vision for those with glaucoma.

    There are number of peer review studies that show the importance of supplementing with a specific nutrients can help protect the optic nerve from damage including the following: alpha lipoid acid, bilberry, pine bark, gingko biloba, taurine, magnesium, vitamin B12,

    Other studies have shown that a healthy diet which included, for example, at least 1 serving of green leafy vegetables such as kale and collard greens, decreased the risk of getting glaucoma for women by 69 percent (Coleman AL, Stone KL, Kodjebacheva G, Yu F, Pedula KL, Ensrud KE, Cauley JA, Hochberg MC, Topouzis F, Badala F, Mangione C ; Study of Osteoporotic Fractures Research Group)

    Daily eye exercises also help maintain healthy vision. For a demo of 3 great eye exercises by Dr. Grossman, one of the Country’s leading behavioral optometrists, go to

    For more related research studies, see the “Research” section at

  2. arif on August 17th, 2009 2:45 pm

    i suffer from optic neuropathy, so this is great news hopefully i can start to see much better now

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