New Genetics Study Now Underway

We applied for and received funding from the National Eye Institute to investigate the genetic reasons why many cornea transplant patients experience steroid-induced glaucoma. This is when the pressure in your eye goes up as a side effect of the eye drops used to prevent your body from rejecting the donor tissue. Up to 30% of cornea transplant patients experience this pressure increase, and currently we have no way to predict who may be affected.  
We believe the study results will help identify which transplant recipients are at risk for this complication before surgery so we can personalize their treatment to reduce that 30% risk. This study may also shed light on the genetic basis of open angle glaucoma, which affects almost 3 million Americans and is called the “sneak thief of sight”.
We’re inviting DSEK and DMEK transplant recipients to voluntarily participate, whether or not they experienced a pressure increase while using the anti-rejection eye drops, so that we can make the comparison. Participants will provide a saliva sample via mail which will be sent to a lab for analysis and comparison of the samples in hopes of finding genetic differences.
We used to have to take a blood sample for studies like this.  It is truly amazing that just with a little saliva/spit, we can study the genetics of what causes some diseases!
We need 800 past cornea transplant recipients to participate in this study. This is quite the undertaking but we are excited for the potential findings and what it may mean for future cornea transplant recipients and people with glaucoma. Each person’s help is crucial to bring us one step closer to the next breakthrough “so that all who look may see.”®. We hope you are as excited as we are about the study. Should you be eligible to participate, we may be in touch in the coming months.
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