Glaucoma is the major cause of irreversible blindness throughout the world. Of all of the treatments that are available at present, the most effective appears to be surgery; however, excessive conjunctival scarring can lead to surgical failure. In the last decade, the introduction of the anti-metabolites mitomycin-C and 5-fluorouracil as anti-scarring treatments have greatly improved the results of glaucoma surgery, but these agents are associated with complications that can potentially result in blindness. A possible target for a more physiological approach to anti-scarring is transforming growth factor β. This review examines the role of transforming growth factor β in conjunctival scarring and discusses promising new ways of modifying its activity.

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Author notes

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This paper was presented in part at the GlaxoSmithKline/MRS Young Investigator session at the MRS Meeting, Royal College of Physicians, London, 19 May 1999.