Ocular Nutrition

Macular carotenoids & Glaucoma

Glaucoma, which is a progressive optic neuropathy, is the second leading cause of global blindness. Current therapeutic options are limited, and typically fail to arrest disease progression for the majority of glaucoma patients.

Glaucoma can cause blindness and a significant impact on quality of life If not carefully controlled. The only current therapy available for glaucoma is to reduce the pressure in the eye using eye drops or surgery. Very often, the condition continues to progress, however, and many people begin to suffers symptoms such as glare that can affect the ability to drive at night for example. The CERI team is working on the development of a novel adjunct therapy for glaucoma. Specifically, the modern diet is very deficient in nutrients essential for optimal eye health and good quality vision. A pigment in the eye, called macular pigment, provides essential protection against stress and inflammation in the eye, and also serves to optimise vision and alleviate the problem of glare which is now increasingly common in our visually complex world.

We are currently running the European Nutrition in Glaucoma Management trial (ENIGMA), a first step to develop a novel nutritional therapy that can halt the progression of the disease, and improve the quality of life of people with glaucoma, such as by giving them back their freedom to safely drive at night.

The ENIGMA trial comprises an 18-month double-masked, randomised and placebo-controlled clinical trial to determine the potential benefits of MP supplementation for one of the leading causes of blindness in Ireland and globally.

It is well recognised that vision impairment from glaucoma is a major contributing factor to falls and motor vehicle collisions. The ENIGMA trial will determine the impact of MP supplementation on vision and quality of life including symptoms and glare among glaucoma subjects. If successful, ENIGMA will lead to development of a novel adjunct therapy for the management of glaucoma. This might create lifestyle benefits for glaucoma patients and perhaps give some people back the freedom to drive safely at night.

*** Recruitment for ENIGMA is closed ***