Glaucoma suspects with a history of anxiety or both anxiety and depression may be at increased risk of developing the ocular condition over time, a study from Duke University reports.

The investigation included a retrospective cohort of subjects with a diagnosis of glaucoma suspect at baseline from the Duke Glaucoma Registry. The presence of anxiety and depression was defined based on electronic health record billing codes, medical history and a problem list.

The study evaluated the hazard ratios for the risk of converting to glaucoma over time while also adjusting for age, gender, race, intraocular pressure measurements over time and disease severity at baseline.

The researchers followed 3,259 glaucoma suspects for approximately four years, during which 911 (28%) were diagnosed with glaucoma at follow-up. The prevalence of anxiety was 32% and 33% for depression. Additionally, the study found a significant association between the diagnoses of anxiety, or concomitant anxiety and depression, and the risk of converting to glaucoma over time, with adjusted hazard ratios of 1.16 and 1.27, respectively.

Berchuck S, Jammal A, Mukherjee S, et al. Impact of anxiety and depression on progression to glaucoma among glaucoma suspects. British Journal of Ophthalmology. August 29, 2020. [Epub ahead of print.