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Thyroid Problems Linked to Increased Glaucoma Risk

Glaucoma prevalence is significantly higher among patients who report thyroid problems

THURSDAY, Oct. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with thyroid problems may have an increased risk of developing glaucoma, according to the results of a study published online Oct. 16 in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

Jennifer Moren Cross, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and colleagues assessed data on 12,376 participants from the 2002 National Health Interview Survey.

The researchers found that the overall prevalence of glaucoma and thyroid problems was 4.6 percent and 11.9 percent, respectively. They also found that the prevalence of glaucoma was significantly higher among subjects who reported thyroid problems compared to those who did not (6.5 percent versus 4.4 percent). After adjusting for factors such as age, race and smoking status, they found a strong association between glaucoma and thyroid problems (odds ratio 1.38).

"The association between thyroid disorders and the development of glaucoma is important to establish, given the high prevalence of both conditions in the general population," the authors conclude. "Thus, prospective research based on a large clinical sample is warranted on the development of glaucoma and thyroid disorders to ascertain more definitively whether thyroid problems instigate and/or exacerbate glaucomatous damage."

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