A significant association was found between hypothyroidism and open-angle glaucoma, according to a study appearing in the September issue of Ophthalmology, the clinical journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. The relationship between the two has been disputed in prior studies.
Glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness in the United States, is a condition in which the optic nerve is damaged. It can be associated with elevated pressure inside the eye and can lead to vision loss. According to the National Eye Institute, nearly 2.3 million people in the United States have open-angle glaucoma, the most common form. Hypothyroidism is a common endocrine condition, affecting approximately five percent of the population.
Nearly 600 male patients with newly diagnosed glaucoma were seen at Veterans Affairs Medical Center, in Birmingham, Ala from 1997 to 2001. They were compared with nearly 6,000 non-glaucoma male patients as the control group. Of the patients with glaucoma, 6.44 percent had a prior diagnosis of hypothyroidism, compared with 3.97 percent of the control group.
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