Smoking harmful to glaucoma patients’ eyes

30 Jun 2022
Smoking harmful to glaucoma patients’ eyes

Heavy smoking takes a toll on the eyes of patients with glaucoma, with a recent study reporting an association with visual field (VF) loss.

The study used data from the Diagnostic Innovations in Glaucoma Study (DIGS) and the African Descent and Glaucoma Evaluation Study (ADAGES) and included 354 primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) patients (511 eyes, median age 64.8 years). These patients underwent five VF tests over a follow-up of 3 years.

Researchers applied univariable and multivariable linear mixed models to investigate the effects of smoking on the rates of 24-2 VF mean deviation loss. They also assessed whether different levels of smoking intensity were associated with VF progression.

Of the patients, 124 (35 percent) were of African ethnicity, 168 (59.8 percent) had a history of smoking, and 149 (42.1 percent) had a history of alcohol consumption. Multivariable analysis revealed an association between higher smoking intensity and faster VF loss (coefficient, –0.05 dB/year per 10 pack-years; p=0.010).

Compared with patients who never smoked, heavy smokers (≥20 pack-years) were twice as likely to develop VF progression (odds ratio, 2.21, 95 percent confidence interval, 1.02–4.76; p=0.044).

The findings indicate that levels of smoking may be a significant predictor for glaucoma progression. Furthermore, the data can be used for clinically relevant tobacco prevention and intervention messages.

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