Nicotinamide can prevent nerve cell damage that leads to blindness in glaucoma. This is shown by the world's first clinical study in the field published in Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology. The study was led by researchers at the Center for Eye Research Australia in collaboration with researchers at Karolinska Institutet and St. Erik's Eye Hospital and others.
Glaucoma is the leading cause of incurable blindness and affects nearly 80 million people worldwide. The disease means that cells in the optic nerve and retina are destroyed, which leads to vision loss. Glaucoma is usually treated with eye drops or surgery to reduce eye pressure. But today there are no treatments to protect the cells from further damage or to improve cell function.
Previous preclinical research on animal models has shown that a form of vitamin B 3 called nicotinamide can prevent the degeneration of nerve cells in the retina in glaucoma. Now, for the first time, similar results have been shown in a study on patients. The current study showed a significant improvement in vision in glaucoma patients who received a daily high dose of 3 grams of nicotinamide for twelve weeks, in addition to the regular traditional treatment with eye drops.
The result clearly shows that the protective effect of nicotinamide is robust and prevents nerve cell damage in existing glaucoma patients. This is very exciting and provides incentives to carry out longer clinical trials, says research assistant Pete Williams at Karolinska Institutet and St. Erik's Eye Hospital, one of the researchers behind the study.
Read more about the study here: