Patients with Open-Angle Glaucoma Have Increased Risk of Stroke

October 29, 2009

According to a large cohort study, patients with open-angle glaucoma are at higher risk for suffering a stroke. This report was published in the journal Stroke.

The researchers evaluated the risk of stroke development after the diagnosis of open-angle glaucoma. The cohort included 4032 patients with open-angle glaucoma from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database. The comparison cohort was comprised of randomly selected patients (n=20,160) who were 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.

In this study, stroke developed in 14.9% of the patients with open-angle glaucoma and 9.5% of the patients in the comparison cohort during the 5-year follow-up period. The patients with glaucoma had significantly lower 5-year stroke-free survival rates than patients in the comparison cohort.

After adjusting the data, patients with open-angle glaucoma were found to have a 1.52-fold higher risk of having a stroke.

Read the abstract/article here (log in required) in the journal Stroke.




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4 Responses to “Patients with Open-Angle Glaucoma Have Increased Risk of Stroke”

  • ari

    the amount of medicine entering the bloodstream is not cumulative, so its irrelevant how any years its being taken. what makes more sense to me is that glaucoma represents poor perfusion of the optic nerve and poor auto-regulation of the perfusion pressure, and therefore patients with glaucoma probably have the same thing going on in the rest of their body. not the meds.
    you are right about prostaglandins- they cause unsightlly atrophy of the peribulbar fat and give a sunken, hollow look. but this is fat atrophy- i dont know if fat is being released into the bloodstream. even if it were, we are talking very small amounts of fat being atrophied over years- again, hard to imagine this could increase risk of stroke.

  • Tilly

    Glaucoma medication, especially prostagladines, can have all sorts of side effects, some of which have only recently been discovered. They can e. g. destroy fat cells and muscles with the result of enophthalmos. By destroying the fat cells around and behind the eye prostaglandines make the fatty particles enter the blood stream. This may result in a stroke.
    Glaucoma medication must be taken lifelong, sometimes for 30 or 40 years, so the amount of medicine reaching the blood stream is by no means miniscule.

  • ari

    hard to imagine that glaucoma medication can cause stroke. what can the mechanism possibly be? the amount of medicine reaching the bloodstream is so miniscule, and stroke is due to damage to arterial walls from blood pressure/cholesterol/bad genes- what glaucoma meds can cause that? in fact, timoptic and trusopt are anti-hypertensives- they probably protect from stroke.

  • Jennie Robinson

    It doesn’t state that eye drops for open angle glaucoma may be related to the development of stroke in patients. All medications have a side effect that may not be detected until damage is already done.