-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, Feb. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Obesity may be associated
with reduced risk of the eye disease open-angle glaucoma in women,
but not in men, a new study suggests.
Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of glaucoma, a
condition that causes damage to the optic nerve.
In the study, researchers in the Netherlands analyzed data from
3,939 participants, aged 55 and older, who took part in the
Rotterdam Study and who did not have open-angle glaucoma when the
study began between 1991 and 1993.
Over an average follow-up period of nearly 10 years, open-angle
glaucoma developed in 108 participants (2.7 percent). The condition
was most likely to occur in those who were older, had severe
nearsightedness and in men, said Dr. Wishal Ramdas of the Erasmus
Medical Center in Rotterdam, and colleagues.
The investigators found that, for women, there was a link
between increased body mass index (BMI) and pressure within the
eyes (intraocular pressure), which is a risk factor for open-angle
glaucoma. However, they discovered that each one-unit increase in
BMI was associated with a 7 percent decrease in the risk of
developing open-angle glaucoma, but only among women.
Although the high intraocular pressure among obese women should
have put them at increased risk for glaucoma, that didn't appear to
be the case, the authors noted. "High estrogen levels and hormone
therapy might be protective to open-angle glaucoma, and obesity
seems to be positively related with postmenopausal plasma estrogen
levels," Ramdas and colleagues wrote.
The study was released online Feb. 14 in advance of publication
in the May print issue of the journal
Archives of Ophthalmology.
The U.S. National Eye Institute has more about
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