Cataract and glaucoma in MS’ers

Epub ahead of printBazelier et al. Risk of cataract and glaucoma in patients with multiple sclerosis. Mult Scler. 2011 Oct 24.

Background: The aim of the study was to evaluate whether MS is associated with risk of cataract or glaucoma (increased pressure in the eye). 

Methods: The investigators conducted a population-based cohort study utilizing the UK General Practice Research Database (1987-2009) linked to the national hospital registry of England (1997-2008). Incident MS patients (5576 cases) were identified and each was matched to six patients without MS (controls) by age, gender, and practice. 

Results: MS patients had no overall increased risk of cataract, adjusted (adj.) HR 1.15 (95% CI 0.94-1.41) or glaucoma, adj. HR 1.02 (95% CI 0.78-1.33). However the risk of cataract (adj. HR 2.45 (95% CI 1.56-3.86)) and glaucoma (adj. HR 1.70 (95% CI 1.01-2.86)) was significantly greater in patients < 50 years, particularly in men < 50 years: cataract, adj. HR 4.23 (95% CI 2.22-8.05) and glaucoma, adj. HR 2.76 (95% CI 1.28-5.93). 

Magnified view of cataract in human eye, seen on examination with a slit lamp

Conclusion: This is the first study which shows that the risk of cataract and glaucoma is elevated in MS patients younger than 50 years, particularly men.

“The results of this study are interesting and should inform clinical practice. In other words it is important for MS’ers to have regular eye checks and not assume that their visual problems are MS-related. Glaucoma and cataract are both treatable causes of visual loss. In the case of glaucoma the visual loss can be permanent.”

2 thoughts on “Cataract and glaucoma in MS’ers”

  1. Cataract and glaucoma have something to do with hypertension, don't they? Any ideas about the connection with MS? Could it be the commoner use of cortisone?

  2. I have always thought that my glaucoma was related to my MS, from the moment I was diagnosed with the glaucoma. I even asked but was told that no, there is no connection. I have inexplicable border-line high blood pressure, glaucoma, migraines, seizure disorder and MS. I believe they are all connected. I believe I have a poorly functioning vascular system but can't get anything checked out because I have MS. It really sucks! I work out daily and follow a very strict diet so things aren't so bad, but I should really be able to get my vascular system checked out!

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