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Outside temperatures, sun exposure and gender may trigger glaucoma
Date:12/31/2011

, eye color and ancestry.

"Importantly, those with a lifetime residential history of living in the middle tier and south tier of the United States was associated with 47% and 75% reduced risks, respectively, compared with living in the northern tier, and across the life span, residence at age 15 was the most strongly associated with risk, followed by current residence," the authors wrote.

The study showed an increased risk in females, but it was unclear as if gender-specific differences in the eye, such as axial length differences or environmental factors related to lifestyle, account for why women are more at risk for this disease.

Other findings include:

  • A positive family history of glaucoma was associated with a more than doubling of risk.

  • Neither Scandinavian decent nor Southern European ancestry was associated with risk when compared with the larger reference group of mainly other white persons in the study, which indicates that there may be strong environmental factors that may increase risk among populations in Scandinavian countries. Overall the study lacked adequate power to determine whether incidence rates differed by minority groups.

  • Iris (eye) color did not seem to be a risk factor.

"This large prospective cohort study demonstrates that there is a positive association between latitude and ES risk that is robust and not related to demographic features or other systemic covariates," Dr. Pasquale explained. "Another manuscript we published recently suggests that lower ambient temperature interacts with increased solar exposure to increase the risk of ES. This new work demonstrates a relation between increasing latitude and a condition with a strong predisposition to glaucoma. More work is needed to determine how environmental factors conspire to contribute to ES."

According to the National Eye Institute, ES is the major known cause of open-angle glaucoma, and i
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Contact: Mary Leach
Mary_Leach@meei.harvard.edu
617-573-4170
Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
Source:Eurekalert

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