Long-term alcohol consumption is associated with a greater risk of exfoliation glaucoma or becoming exfoliation glaucoma suspect (XFG/XFGS), according to research published in Ophthalmology.
Researchers followed 195,408 participants from the Nurses’ Health Study, Health Professionals Follow-up Study, and Nurses’ Health Study II cohorts. Patients reported glaucoma status and alcoholic beverage frequency, quantity, and type through a validated food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). A chart review confirmed the presence of exfoliation material in those reporting glaucoma.
Overall, researchers identified 507 participants with XFG/XFGS (705 eyes; 423 women). According to the report, participants who consumed more alcohol were at a greater risk for XFG/XFGS compared with those who did not consume alcohol. Multivariable-adjusted relative risk (MVRR) for individuals consuming a cumulatively averaged 15 or more grams of alcohol per day was 1.55 (95% CI, 1.17–2.07) vs not drinking. Alcoholic beverage type affected XFG/XFGS risk with individuals who consumed more than 3.6 drinks per week of beer (MVRR, 1.26; 95% CI, 0.89–1.77), wine (MVRR, 1.30; (95% CI, 1.00–1.68), and liquor (MVRR, 1.46; 95% CI, 1.15–1.85) demonstrating greater risk compared with individuals who abstained from alcohol.
Researchers speculate that B vitamins may factor into this association. “Although the underlying mechanism between alcohol consumption and XFG/XFGS is unclear, the potential adverse association of alcohol may be biologically plausible,” the report states. “Several studies, but not all, suggest that folate deficiency may play a role in XFG/XFGS pathogenesis.”
Study limitations include an inability to perform comprehensive eye examinations on all participants and an overrepresentation of individuals with White ethnicity, who were well-educated, and who work in health care.
Disclosure: One study author declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or clinical research organizations. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures.
Hanyuda A, Rosner BA, Wiggs JL, Negishi K, Pasquale LR, Kang JH. Long-term alcohol consumption and risk of exfoliation glaucoma/glaucoma suspect among US health professionals. Ophthalmol. Published online August 27, 2022. doi:10.1016/j.ophtha.2022.08.023