Diabetes Elevates Risk Of Glaucoma

People with diabetes – especially those who have had the disease for a long period of time – are at a higher risk of developing glaucoma, according to the results of a new study.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Maryland looked at data from just under 3 million patients in 16 countries to determine the relationship between diabetes and glaucoma.

According to the data, those with diabetes are almost one and a half times more likely than those without the disease to develop glaucoma. The longer they’ve had diabetes also plays a part. According to statistical evidence, the risk factor increases by 5 percent a year following a diabetes diagnosis, researchers said.

Given that diabetic nerve damage including to the optic nerve – which can trigger the elevated pressure associated with glaucoma – increases over time, the relationship makes sense, experts say.

“A longer duration of diabetes could impose prolonged damage to the glial and neuronal functions, leading to higher glaucoma risk,” the study’s authors said. “This finding further supports the need for patients with longer duration of diabetes to adhere to optimal glaucoma screening examinations and management.”

Although diabetes has previously been linked to glaucoma risk, studies regarding the association have been inconsistent, prompting researchers to undergo their review, which included data from 47 separate studies.

Their research appeared in the journal Ophthalmology.

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