Glaucoma and the Risk of Stroke

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Glaucoma is an eye disease which can affect the optic nerve and lead to visual disturbances. Raised intraocular pressure can be a significant risk factor for developing glaucoma.  Although open-angle glaucoma (OAG) is associated with some of the risk factors of stroke development, there is still no published study addressing whether OAG increases the risk of stroke development.

Ho J-D et al from Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan, investigated the risk of stroke development after a diagnosis of OAG (Stroke. 2009; 40:2685).

Data were retrospectively collected from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database, which is comprised of 1 073 891 random subjects from among Taiwan’s 23 million residents. The study cohort comprised all patients with a diagnosis of OAG in 2001 (n=4032). The comparison cohort was comprised of randomly selected patients (5 for every patient with OAG, n=20 160) matched with the study group in terms of age, gender, geographic location, and comorbid medical disorders. Patients were tracked from their index visits for 5 years.

Stroke developed in 14.9% of patients with OAG and 9.5% of patients in the comparison cohort during the 5-year follow-up period. Patients with OAG had significantly lower 5-year stroke-free survival rates than patients in the comparison cohort. After adjusting for patients’ demographic characteristics and selected comorbidities, patients with OAG were found to have a 1.52-fold higher risk of having a stroke than the matched comparison cohort.

The study concluded that patients with OAG demonstrated a significantly increased risk of stroke development during the 5-year follow-up period.glaucoma

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