Air pollution linked to glaucoma risk


University College London researchers have highlighted that residents of neighbourhoods with a higher concentration of fine particulate matter pollution have an elevated risk of developing glaucoma.

Writing in Investigative Ophthalmology and Vision Science, the scientists shared that those living in areas with higher levels of air pollution had a 6% greater chance of developing glaucoma than those living in neighbourhoods with low levels of pollution.

The study was based on testing carried out between 2006 and 2010 on the 11,370 participants within the UK Biobank study.

Participants were asked whether they had glaucoma, their eye pressure was measured and the thickness of their macula was measured using Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT).

The UK Biobank data was then linked to air pollution measures for the home addresses of study participants.

The study reinforces previous research which found that those in rural areas were 50% less likely to develop glaucoma than those living in urban areas, suggesting that pollution may play a role in the development of the disease.