HealthDay News — Women of reproductive age who currently use hormonal contraceptives are at higher risk for developing glaucoma, according to a study published online June 22 in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

Kate Hogden, MBBS, from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and colleagues used data for 4,871,504 women of reproductive age from IQVIA electronic medical records (2008 to 2018) to identify women with glaucoma or ocular hypertension (2366 cases). Each glaucoma case was matched to 4 controls according to age, body mass index, and follow-up time (9464 controls).

The researchers found that regular users of hormonal contraceptives had an elevated risk for glaucoma compared with nonusers, with an adjusted incident rate ratio (aIRR) of 1.57 (95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.29 to 1.92). The greatest risk was seen among current users (aIRR, 2.38; 95% CI, 1.81 to 3.13). Risk fell with past use (aIRR, 1.08; 95% CI, 0.82 to 1.43). Glaucoma risk increased with number of prescriptions in the 2 years prior to first glaucoma diagnosis: 1 or 2 prescriptions (aIRR, 0.82; 95% CI, 1.81 to 3.13) vs more than 4 prescriptions (aIRR, 1.54; 95% CI, 1.32 to 1.81).

“The risk of glaucoma with hormonal contraceptives is low and should not dissuade women from taking these medications,” a coauthor said in a statement. “Women on hormonal contraceptives who experience visual changes should have these symptoms examined by an ophthalmologist.”

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