Glaucoma Incidence May Decrease Following Lifestyle Modifications

Healthy lifestyle choices involving diet modification and limiting alcohol intake may limit glaucoma incidence.

Glaucoma incidence may be associated with various modifiable lifestyle choices which include overweight and obesity, the time during which meals are consumed, and alcohol consumption, according to a study published in Eye. 

Investigators used an administrative claims database to retrospectively enroll participants (N=3,110,743; mean age, 44.4 years; 67.1% men) who had received annual health checkups between 2005 and 2020. The team included individuals with available data pertaining to body mass index (BMI), smoking and drinking status, eating and exercise habits, and sleep quality and excluded patients who had pre-existing glaucoma. During a 2058 day follow-up period, the researchers examined associations between glaucoma incidence (a dispensing record of antiglaucoma eye drops) and these modifiable lifestyle choices. 

Our findings may be useful for promoting glaucoma prophylaxis and have the potential to reduce the social burden associated with glaucoma.

Overall, glaucoma incidence occurred in 39,975 participants. Variables increasing glaucoma risk included overweight and obesity (hazard ratio [HR], 1.04; 95% CI, 1.02-1.07), alcohol intake of 2.5 units (unit: amount of alcohol processed by the average adult in 1 hour) or more, not consuming breakfast (HR, 1.14; 95% CI, 1.10-1.17), having a late dinner (HR, 1.05; 95% CI, 1.03-1.08), and walking daily for 1 hour (HR, 1.14; 95% CI, 1.11-1.16).   

Although high alcohol intake increased the risk of glaucoma incidence, occasional and daily consumption reduced this risk in men compared with individuals who rarely consumed alcohol (HR, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.92–0.99 and HR, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.87–0.94, respectively). Regularly engaging in exercise also limited glaucoma risk (HR, 0.92; 95% CI, 0.90–0.95).  

The study authors acknowledge that the association between these modifiable lifestyle risk factors and glaucoma incidence is not well understood. 

“Our findings may be useful for promoting glaucoma prophylaxis and have the potential to reduce the social burden associated with glaucoma,” according to the researchers. 

Study limitations include the potential for recall bias and homogeneity among the cohort, which may limit the globalization of these findings.


Fujita A, Hashimoto Y, Matsui H, Yasunaga H, Aihara M. Association between lifestyle habits and glaucoma incidence: a retrospective cohort study. Eye (Lond). Published online April 19, 2023. doi:10.1038/s41433-023-02535-7