Consider the glaucoma arsenal: drop, pill, laser, shunt, scalpel… treadmill? Maybe, researchers say.

Data from the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) shows intraocular pressure (IOP) is associated with more than simply glaucoma. A secondary analysis of randomized clinical trial data identifies diabetes, obesity and systolic hypertension as significantly associated with increased IOP. Not surprisingly, systemic beta-blocker use was inversely associated with IOP.

Additionally, the study shows that these systemic diseases can influence more than just the mean IOP—peak IOP and IOP variability were both noted also.

The Chicago-based investigators reviewed 3,909 patients without a reported diagnosis of glaucoma or glaucoma treatment during AREDS with up to 12 years of annual IOP and systemic disease data.

Perhaps, they speculate, treatment of these systemic conditions could reduce glaucoma risk, too. “Although only to be taken within the context of IOP, these population-level trends reveal potentially modifiable factors in IOP control,” the study notes, “and are particularly important in the context of increasing obesity and diabetes prevalence rates in American adults.”

Dikopf M, Vajaranant T, Joslin C. Systemic disease and long-term intraocular pressure mean, peak, and variability in nonglaucomatous eyes. Am J Ophthalmol. 2018;193(9):184-96.