July 18, 2017
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Cardiovascular disease may help speed glaucoma progression

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Cardiovascular disease is an important risk factor for rapid progression of glaucoma disease, regardless of IOP, according to a study.

Two cohorts of patients with glaucoma, respectively defined as rapid and non-rapid progressors based on the annual rate of visual field change (decline of mean deviation more or less than 1 dB/year), were retrospectively reviewed and compared to determine the demographic, intraocular and systemic risk factors potentially contributing to progression.

Looking at the clinical and visual field data of 11,254 eyes collected between 1991 and 2015, the authors of the study selected 54 eyes that satisfied the criteria for rapid progression. A total of 486 eyes were selected as non-rapid progressors for the control group.

Cardiovascular disease emerged as a highly significant risk factor for rapid progression. Patients with a cardiovascular history had double the chance to be rapid progressors as compared with controls.

This would confirm, according to the authors, the primary importance of the vascular component in the pathogenesis of glaucoma. Because patients with cardiovascular disease in the rapid progressors group had significantly lower baseline IOP than controls, cardiovascular disease appears to be a risk factor regardless of IOP.

“Our results support clinicians managing glaucoma taking a comprehensive past medical history and highlight the importance of optimizing cardiovascular risk factors so as to reduce the risk of rapidly progressive disease,” the authors concluded. – by Michela Cimberle

Disclosure: The authors reported no relevant financial disclosures.