Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, and Your Eyes

By Hylton Mayer, MD

Glaucoma, a condition related to high pressure inside the eyes, can cause damage to the optic nerve, the nerve that connects the eye to the brain.  When the optic nerve is damaged, a person can lose vision, typically side (or peripheral) vision first, but a person could ultimately lose all vision in the affected eye or eyes.

Glaucoma affects more than 2 million people in the United States. It is more common as people age, and as the general U.S. population ages, glaucoma diagnoses are expected to increase. Besides age, there are other risk factors associated with glaucoma, including a family history of glaucoma, nearsightedness, and being of non-Caucasian descent.

A recent study published in the journal Ophthalmology has clarified some other risk factors associated with glaucoma.  The research involved a review of medical billing records for over 2 million people aged 40 and older who had visited with an eye doctor between 2001 and 2007.  The study found that people with diabetes had a 35 percent increase in their risk for developing glaucoma; people with high blood pressure had a 17 percent increased risk; and, people with both diabetes and hypertension had a 48 percent increased risk of developing glaucoma compared with the average population.

Having diabetes and/or hypertension increases the risk for other eye problems such as cataracts or retina damage, too.  This study supports the importance of regular eye exams for patients with risk factors for the development of ocular disease, including diabetes and hypertension.

Citation: The Relationship Between Components of Metabolic Syndrome and Open-Angle Glaucoma. Ophthalmology, 2011 July.

schedule an Appointment
pay my bill
provider Portal
(301) 215-7100

Our locations

Plaza North
4600 North Park Ave.
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
Chevy Chase Metro Building at Wisconsin and Western Avenues
2 Wisconsin Circle, Suite 230
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
8230 Boone Blvd, Suite 125
Vienna, VA 22182
5420 Olney Laytonsville Road
Olney, MD 20832
1016 16th Street NW
Lower Level 100
Washington, DC 20036
1145 19th St NW
Suite 335
Washington, DC 20036

Online Scheduling Maintenance

Our online scheduling portal is undergoing maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience. Please call our office at 301.215.7100 to schedule an appointment. We look forward to seeing you as a patient!