A study of the 5.3 million men and women seen in Department of Veterans Affairs outpatient clinics in a one-year period found that use of cocaine is predictive of open-angle glaucoma, the most common type of glaucoma.
The study revealed that after adjustments for race and age, current and former cocaine users had a 45 percent increased risk of glaucoma. Men with open-angle glaucoma also had significant exposures to amphetamines and marijuana, although less than cocaine.
Patients with open-angle glaucoma and history of exposure to illegal drugs were nearly 20 years younger than glaucoma patients without a drug exposure history (54 years old versus 73 years old).
Study results appear in the September issue of Journal of Glaucoma.
"The association of illegal drug use with open-angle glaucoma requires further study, but if the relationship is confirmed, this understanding could lead to new strategies to prevent vision loss," said study first author Regenstrief Institute investigator Dustin French, Ph.D., a research scientist with the Center of Excellence on Implementing Evidence-Based Practice, Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, Health Services Research and Development Service in Indianapolis. A health economist who studies health outcomes, he is also an assistant professor of medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine.
Glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness in the United States. Although the mechanism of vision loss in glaucoma is not fully understood, most research has focused on an increase in eye pressure gradually injuring the optic nerve. Most individuals who develop open-angle glaucoma have no symptoms until late in the disease process when substantial peripheral vision has been lost.
Dr. French and colleagues found that among the 5.3 million veterans (91 percent of whom were male) who used VA outpatient clinics in fiscal year 2009, nearly 83,000 (about 1.5 percent) had glaucoma. During the same fiscal year, nearly 178,000 (about 3.3 percent) of all those seen in the outpatient clinics had a diagnosis of cocaine abuse or dependency.
Although this study determined significant increased risk for glaucoma in those with a history of drug use, it does not prove a causal relationship. It is unlikely that glaucoma preceded the use of illegal drugs, since substance use typically begins in the teens or twenties.
"The Veterans Health Administration substance use disorder treatment program is the largest and most comprehensive program of its kind in the country," said Dr. French. He believes that the reliability of the data used in the glaucoma study reflects the overall scope and high quality of the VHA substance use program.
The long-term effects of cocaine use on intraocular pressure, the only modifiable risk factor for glaucoma, requires further study. Should the association of cocaine use and glaucoma be confirmed in other studies, substance abuse would present another modifiable risk factor for this blinding disease.
This study, "Substance Use Disorder and the Risk of Open-Angle Glaucoma" was funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, Health Services Research and Development Service. In addition to Dr. French, co-authors are Curtis E. Margo, M.D., of the University of South Florida College of Medicine and Lynn E. Harman, M.D., of the James Haley VA Hospital in Tampa.
The Regenstrief Institute and the IU School of Medicine are located on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus.
Cindy Fox Aisen | EurekAlert!
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences