(HealthDay News) — Blood manganese and mercury levels are negatively and positively associated with glaucoma, respectively, according to a study published online August 6 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Shuai-Chun Lin, MD, from the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues examined the correlations between body levels of trace metals and the prevalence of glaucoma in a cross-sectional population-based study. Data were included on blood or urine metallic element levels and ocular disease for 2,680 individuals aged 19 years and older from the fourth Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

The researchers found that blood manganese levels were negatively associated with the odds of glaucoma diagnosis after adjustment for potential confounding variables (odds ratio, 0.44; 95% confidence interval, 0.21–0.92). There was a positive association for blood mercury levels with glaucoma prevalence (odds ratio, 1.01; 95% confidence interval, 1.00–1.03). There was no definitive correlation between blood cadmium or lead levels or urine arsenic level and glaucoma diagnosis.

“For more confidence that trace metals may have a role in the pathogenesis of glaucoma, prospective studies would need to confirm that the presence of such trace metals increases the chance of developing glaucoma,” the authors write.

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