Eur J Ophthalmol. 2023 Mar 14:11206721231161101. doi: 10.1177/11206721231161101. Online ahead of print.
Glaucoma is an optic neuropathy characterized by death of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), which leads to progressive visual field loss and may result in blindness. Currently, the only available treatment to avoid or delay progression in glaucoma patients is to decrease intraocular pressure (IOP). However, despite adequate IOP control, approximately 25% of the patients continue to progress. To delay or prevent optic nerve damage in glaucoma, two forms of vitamin B3, nicotinamide (NAM) and nicotinamide riboside (NR) are emerging as viable adjuvant therapies. These compounds are nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) precursors. NAD is essential for proper cell functioning and is involved in several metabolic activities, including protection against reactive oxygen species, contribution to the performance of various enzymes, and maintenance of mitochondrial function. Due to its beneficial effects and to the evidence of the reduction of NAD bioavailability with aging, researchers are seeking ways to replenish the cellular NAD pool, by administrating its precursors (NAM and NR), believing that it will reduce the RGC vulnerability to external stressors, such as increased IOP. This article attempts to analyze the current knowledge regarding the use of NAM and NR for the prevention and/or treatment of glaucoma.