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Link Between Hypothyroidism, Glaucoma Found

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WEDNESDAY, Sept. 1 (HealthDayNews) -- There's a significant association between hypothyroidism and open-angle glaucoma, claims a study in the September issue of Ophthalmology.

The study included about 600 male patients newly diagnosed with glaucoma who were compared with about 6,000 males who didn't have glaucoma. Among those with glaucoma, 6.44 percent had a prior diagnosis of hypothyroidism, compared with 3.97 percent of the men free of glaucoma.

"Hypothyroidism, a treatable, but often undiagnosed condition, may be related to the development of glaucoma," study author Dr. Christopher A. Girkin, an associate professor of ophthalmology at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, said in a prepared statement.

"Additional research is needed to determine the significance of hypothyroidism in the development of glaucoma and whether thyroid replacement therapy would have a significant effect on glaucomatous progression," Girkin said.

"This is the first study to show the association of hypothyroidism with glaucoma in a convincing manner. Now that an association has been demonstrated, hypothyroidism should be added to the list of potential risk factors to consider," Dr. Louis B. Cantor, a spokesman for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, said in a prepared statement.

About 5 percent of the U.S. population has hypothyroidism. Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in the nation.

More information

The U.S. National Eye Institute has more about glaucoma.

SOURCE: American Academy of Ophthalmology, news release, Sept. 1, 2004
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