Background: Open Angle Glaucoma (POAG) is the leading causes of irreversible blindness
worldwide. Elevated intraocular pressure is considered an important risk factor for glaucoma; however,
a subset of patients experiences a progression of the disease even in presence of normal intraocular
pressure values. This implies that risk factors other than intraocular pressure are involved in the
pathogenesis of glaucoma. A possible relationship between glaucoma and neurodegenerative diseases
such as Alzheimer Disease has been suggested. In this regard, we recently described a high prevalence
of alterations typical of glaucoma, using Heidelberg Retinal Tomograph-3, in a group of patients with
Alzheimer Disease. Interestingly, these alterations were not associated with elevated intraocular pressure
or abnormal Central Corneal Thickness values. Alzheimer Disease is the most common form of
dementia with progressive deterioration of memory and cognition. Complaints related to vision are
common among Alzheimer Disease patients.
Methods: In this paper researches related to glaucoma and Alzheimer disease are reviewed.
Results: Diseases characteristics, i.e. common features, risk factors and pathophysiological mechanisms
gathered in the recent literature do suggest that Alzheimer Disease and glaucoma can be considered
both age-related neurodegenerative diseases that may co-exist in the elderly.
Conclusion: In conclusion, preclinical and clinical evidence gathered so far support the notion that
glaucoma is a widespread neurodegenerative condition whose common pathogenetic mechanisms with
other diseases, i.e. Alzheimer Disease, should be further investigated as they may shed new light on
these diseases improving both diagnosis and treatments.