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BMI Tied to Lower Risk of Glaucoma Subtype in Women

Relationship seen with intraocular pressure of 21 mm Hg or less but not with condition overall

MONDAY, Aug. 2 (HealthDay News) -- In women, higher body mass index (BMI) appears to have an association with a reduced risk of primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) with intraocular pressure (IOP) no more than 21 mm Hg, though there is no significant relationship between cumulatively averaged BMI and POAG overall, according to research published in the August issue of Ophthalmology.

Louis R. Pasquale, M.D., of Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues prospectively followed 78,777 women from 1980 through 2004 and 41,352 men from 1986 through 2004 to gauge the relationship between anthropometric measures (including BMI) and the incidence of POAG. Anthropometric measurements, potential confounders, and ophthalmic status were updated every two years.

The researchers found no significant overall relationship between cumulatively averaged BMI and POAG; however, each unit increase in BMI was associated with a 6 percent reduced risk of POAG with an IOP of 21 mm Hg or less at diagnosis. Weight, independent of height, seemed to drive most of the inverse relationship. The inverse relationship did not hold up for men, and the gender difference was significant. No association was found between BMI and POAG with IOP of more than 21 mm Hg for either sex.

"Among women, higher BMI was associated with a lower risk of POAG with IOP of 21 mm Hg or less at diagnosis. The factors contributing to this tendency may yield insight into the pathogenesis of POAG," the authors write.

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