Air Pollution Linked To Higher Risk of Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a condition that damages the eye’s optic nerve, usually as a result of a buildup of fluid in the front part of the eye. If the condition progresses, it can lead to permanent vision loss or even total blindness. According to a new study, people who live in highly polluted areas may be up to 6% more likely to develop glaucoma.
For their study, the researchers used data from 111,370 people who participated in the UK Biobank study. The participants had eye tests between 2006 and 2010 that measured self-reported glaucoma, intraocular pressure, and the thickness of the eye’s macula.
The researchers then looked at data on air pollution measures for fine particulate matter that correlated with the participants’ home addresses. They found that people who lived in areas with the top 25% of air pollution were 6% more likely to have been diagnosed with glaucoma compared to those who lived in with the least polluted areas. They were also more likely to have a thinner retina.
The study was conducted by researchers from University College London. It was published in the November, 2019 issue of Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science.