Study: Possible link between birth control pill and glaucoma

Study: Possible link between birth control pill and glaucoma


WASHINGTON, D.C., November 19, 2013 ( – A new study shows a possible link between women who use birth control pills and a higher risk of glaucoma as they age. 

The study examined the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, and found that women who used birth control pills for at least three years had doubled their chances of having glaucoma. On Sunday, the study’s three researchers – from the University of California-San Francisco, Duke University and Third Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang University – presented their findings to the American Association of Ophthalmology.

The findings have not been peer-reviewed.

While the study, which used data from 3,000 women over the age of 40, did find other risk factors for glaucoma – including age and a history of retinopathy – this is the second time birth control pills have been linked to glaucoma. The first was a 2011 study that found a small potential increase in the risk of glaucoma.

The link is suspected to be related to estrogen levels in women who are on the pill. While on the pill, estrogen levels can be unnaturally low for long periods of time, and natural spikes in estrogen are prevented.

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