Association between glaucoma and systemic drugs

New research finds association between glaucoma and systemic drugs

Moorfields Eye Charity is excited to report on outcomes from a study led by Anthony Khawaja, consultant ophthalmic surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital, which has led to surprising and important insights showing association between Primary Open Angle Glaucoma (POAG) and some systemic drugs.

Primary Open Angle Glaucoma (POAG) is a subset of glaucoma which is a group of diseases that damage the eye’s optic nerve and can result in vision loss and blindness. POAG is a progressive condition and is the most common cause of irreversible blindness worldwide.

Interestingly, the study has found that a common classes of anti-depressant medication known as ‘selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors’ (SSRI) were associated with a 30% reduced risk in POAG.

Anthony Khawaja
Anthony Khawaja

However, some types of blood pressure medication (calcium channel blockers) were associated with a 26% increased risk of POAG.

These are striking findings and could significantly change the way glaucoma patients are managed, particularly those with existing depression or high blood pressure.

This research could mean that a trial of how SSRIs could be used to slow progression of disease in POAG is warranted in the future and shows the need for other potential mechanisms driving this disease.

Read the published article written by Anthony Khawaja in The Ophthalmologist here.

Moorfields Eye Charity is proud to support important research into this disease. To find out how you can support research like this, visit our research support page here.



W Zheng, et al., "Systemic medication associations with presumed advanced or uncontrolled primary open-angle glaucoma",  Ophthalmology, in press. (2018).