NEW YORK -
Women with type 2 diabetes apparently run an increased
risk of developing glaucoma, the eye condition
characterized by increased internal pressure that can lead
to blindness if left untreated. The finding comes from an
analysis of data from more than 76,000 participants in the
Nurses' Health Study. "The study supports the notion that
type 2 diabetes is associated with an increased risk of
glaucoma," lead author Dr. Louis R. Pasquale, from Harvard
Medical School in Boston, said in a statement.
"While obesity fuels the type 2 diabetes epidemic, it
appears that factors unrelated to obesity contribute to
the positive association between type 2 diabetes and
glaucoma," Pasquale added. "We were surprised to find
this." The women in the study were at least 40 years of
age and free of glaucoma when the study began in 1980. The
participants were followed until 2000, according to the
report, published in the journal Ophthalmology.
During the study period, 429 women were diagnosed with
After accounting for weight, physical activity, age, and
other possible risk factors, the researchers found that
having type 2 diabetes was associated with an 82 percent
higher risk of developing glaucoma. The risk was actually
higher in women who had diabetes for 5 years or less than
for those with long-standing disease.
"Our work suggests, but in no way proves, that factors
other than lifestyle behavior contributing to insulin
resistance could lead to elevated intraocular pressure and
glaucoma," Pasquale concluded.