Study: Diabetes, hypertension patients at risk of developing glaucoma

NEW YORK — Americans that suffer from diabetes and/or hypertension are at risk of developing a common type of glaucoma, according to researchers at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center.

The study, led by Kellogg glaucoma specialist Joshua Stein and funded by the National Eye Institute, reviewed billing records of more than 2 million people that were enrolled in a managed care network. These subjects visited an eye care provider one or more times between 2001 and 2007. Based on the data collected, Stein and his fellow researchers discovered that diabetics had a 35% increased risk of developing open-angle glaucoma, while hypertension patients had a 17% increased risk of developing OAG. For people with both diabetes and hypertension, however, they faced an increased risk of developing OAG of almost 50%.

"Patients who have diabetes and hypertension are already known to be at elevated risk for eye conditions like diabetic retinopathy, a condition that harms the blood vessels in the retina," Stein said. "This study and others suggest that, for these patients, an increased likelihood of glaucoma is also a concern. This study reinforces the importance of regular eye examinations for patients at increased risk of glaucoma, including those with diabetes and hypertension."

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