Exfoliation glaucoma (XFG) is the most common secondary form of open-angle glaucoma in the world.1 It is an ocular manifestation of exfoliation syndrome (XFS), an age-related systemic disease characterized by deposition of extracellular fibrillar material in various tissues and organs.1 Now, researchers are saying non-melanoma skin cancer is associated with higher XFG risk, especially for individuals between the ages of 40 and 64 who live in northern latitudes such as North America.

The investigators looked at the records of 79,102 American women and 41,205 American men older than 40 and at risk for glaucoma.2 They also reviewed the participants’ histories of skin cancer such as basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and non-melanoma skin cancer.2 SCC was confirmed with histopathology reports while BCC and any early non-melanoma skin cancer history was self-reported. They also confirmed incidents of XFG cases with medical records.2

They found a 40% higher XFG risk with any non-melanoma skin cancer history. This association was observed even with four and eight year lags in non-melanoma skin cancer history. Also, the non-melanoma skin cancer association was stronger in patients younger than 65 than those older than 65, the report shows. Even the subjects’ location was taken into account with those living in northern latitudes showing a significantly stronger association than those in southern latitudes.2

1. Aboobakar I, Allingham R. Genetics of Exfoliation Syndrome and Glaucoma. Int Ophthalmol Clin. 2014;54(4):43-56.

2. Kang J, VoPham T, Laden F, et al. Cohort study of non-melanoma skin cancer and the risk of exfoliation glaucoma. J Glaucoma. March 20, 2020. [Epub ahead of print].