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Diabetes Seems to Heighten Glaucoma Risk
Date:5/2/2008

Regular screenings may help prevent irreversible nerve damage,,,,

FRIDAY, May 2 (HealthDay News) -- While diabetes has long been associated with the potentially sight-stealing disease diabetic retinopathy, it appears that another serious eye disease -- glaucoma -- may also be a complication of the metabolic disorder.

A recent study in the journal Ophthalmology found that women with diabetes have about a 70 percent increased risk of developing the most common form of glaucoma -- primary open-angle glaucoma -- compared to women without diabetes.

"The study supports the notion that type 2 diabetes is associated with an increased risk of glaucoma," study lead author Dr. Louis Pasquale, co-director of the glaucoma service at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and an assistant professor of ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, said in a prepared statement.

Primary open-angle glaucoma affects an estimated 2 million Americans, according to the U.S. National Eye Institute, and it is one of the leading causes of blindness.

Yet the link between diabetes and glaucoma hasn't been proven conclusively.

"There are a number of things, like diabetes, that appear to be a risk factor in a lot of population studies, but the association between diabetes and glaucoma is somewhat controversial," explained Dr. Joel Schuman, chairman of the department of ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Medical Center, and the director of the UPMC Eye Center.

Another study, also published in Ophthalmology, failed to find a link between diabetes and glaucoma in a trial that included almost 4,000 people from the Netherlands.

But, Pasquale's study was significantly larger, including more than 76,000 women enrolled in the 20-year-long Nurses' Health Study. And, the available evidence is convincing enough for the American Diabetes Association to conclude that
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