Endothelial dysfunction in glaucoma

Acta Ophthalmol. 2009 Feb;87(1):4-12. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-3768.2007.01167.x. Epub 2008 May 27.


Glaucoma is a group of ocular diseases characterized by optic neuropathy associated with loss of the retinal nerve fibre layer and re-modelling of the optic nerve head, and a subsequent particular pattern of visual field loss. Increased intraocular pressure is the most important risk factor for the disease, but the pathogenesis of glaucoma is not monofactorial. Among other factors, ischaemia and vascular dysregulation have been implicated in the mechanisms underlying glaucoma. The vascular endothelium plays an important role in the regulation of ocular blood flow and pathological alterations of vascular endothelial cells may induce ischaemia and dysregulation. The present review summarizes our current evidence of endothelial dysfunction in glaucoma. This is of interest because endothelial dysfunction is a good prognostic factor for progression in several diseases. Although such data are lacking for glaucoma, endothelial dysfunction may provide an attractive target for therapeutic intervention in open-angle glaucoma and other vascular disorders of the eye.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology*
  • Glaucoma, Open-Angle / etiology
  • Glaucoma, Open-Angle / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Optic Disk / blood supply*
  • Optic Nerve Diseases / etiology
  • Optic Nerve Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Peripheral Vascular Diseases / complications
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / pathology