Cardiovascular disease, particularly atrial fibrillation, is significantly associated with glaucoma development. Experts recommend glaucoma screening for these patients.

Cardiovascular disease, particularly atrial fibrillation, is significantly associated with glaucoma development. Experts recommend glaucoma screening for these patients. Photo: www.stopafib.org. Click image to enlarge.

Atrial fibrillation is a common cardiac arrhythmia that was recently tied to increased likelihood of developing glaucoma in a study published in Eye (London). “Since cardiovascular disease and glaucoma are both chronic diseases, if a patient has both disorders, medical burden may be aggravated during the lifetime,” the study authors wrote in their paper.

The study cohort included nearly one million subjects with newly diagnosed glaucoma and atrial fibrillation (diagnosed between 2003 and 2007) in the Korean National Health Insurance Service system, followed over a 12-year period. The control group (n=43,352) was matched for social and demographic factors.

The researchers reported a glaucoma development rate of 3.54% in the atrial fibrillation group and 2.96% in the control group. This difference was significant, with atrial fibrillation increasing the risk of glaucoma development even after adjusting for age, sex, comorbidities, residence, household income and year of enrollment.

Multivariate analysis also showed that patients with diabetes and chronic renal failure as well as patients 50 and older were at significantly higher risk for glaucoma development.

The researchers wrote in their paper that “physicians may need to pay careful attention to patients with atrial fibrillation, especially those with comorbidities of diabetes and chronic renal failure.” They added that these patients should be referred to eyecare providers for glaucoma screening to avoid potential impairment of vision.

Cho H, Han J, Choi J, et al. Association between atrial fibrillation and the risk of glaucoma development: a 12-year nationwide cohort study. Eye (Lond). November 12, 2022. [Epub ahead of print].