Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Oral contraceptives double the risk of glaucoma, a leading cause of blindess

Glaucoma risk and contraceptives
Research presented recently at the 2013 Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology in New Orleans, shows that women who have taken oral contraceptives for three or more years are twice as likely to suffer from glaucoma.  Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness and vision lost to glaucoma is lost permanently. Glaucoma slowly takes your vision, starting at the periphery and working its way to the center.  Many people with glaucoma don't know that they have it until it is too late. The only way to detect glaucoma early enough for effective treatment is through a regular eye exam.

This is normal vision:

Normal vision compared with vision with glaucoma

This is vision with glaucoma in its advanced stages:

Normal vision compared with vision with glaucoma

The study looked at 3,406 American women aged 40 years or older who completed a vision and reproductive health questionnaire and underwent eye exams. The researchers found that females who had used oral contraceptives, no matter which kind, for more then three years were 2.05 times more likely to also report that they had also been diagnosed with glaucoma.

The study means that women who have taken oral contraceptives for more than three years should have a regular eye exam to screen for the early onset of glaucoma.  Other risk factors for glaucoma include elevated pressure inside the eye, visual field deficits, family history, South Asian or African ancestry, a history of myopia and other risk factors.  See your eye doctor if you are concerned.

Women's glaucoma treatment in Vancouver.  We take women's eye health seriously.
The study rings another note of caution for women when it comes to eye health. Women are at significantly higher risk than men for many eye diseases and must therefore ensure that they are vigilant about their eye health.  Read about women's eye health at the link below: