There’s something in the air, and it may be causing childhood glaucoma. At least, those are the findings of a pair of Korean researchers who looked into the association between the disease and pollutants with a mass median aerodynamic diameter of ≤10μm (PM10).

They found any length of exposure to PM10 was associated with the incidence of childhood glaucoma, confirming previous reports on the link. The researchers monitored 9,004 infants from birth for 11 years and compared their rates of childhood glaucoma development with geographic information systems that showed PM10 exposure levels. Glaucoma occurred in 85 (0.94%) patients, which might not seem like many, but the research also shows that the probability of developing it were significantly higher for those exposed to PM10. Long-term exposure groups were significantly associated with increased diagnoses. Even the lowest PM10 exposure group was significant, though the long-term group’s risk was considerably elevated.

The researchers say this confirms previous reports on the link between air pollution and ocular disease.

Iwase A, Sawaguchi S, Tanaka K, et al. Relationship between ocular risk factors for glaucoma and optic disc rim in normal eyes. Br J Ophthalmol. November 15, 2019. [Epub ahead of print].