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This question was posed by an elderly patient with severe glaucoma who recently adopted an adorable kitten. To my cat-loving patient's dismay, the headline of an article in The Telegraph admonished: ‘why owning a cat could lead to blindness’; while another online commentary advised: ‘keep your dog, get rid of your cat’. In view of her advanced glaucoma, should her kitty make way for a little pooch?
This uproar can be traced to a recent study by Tseng et al.1 In a retrospective cross-sectional study of 1652 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the authors analysed the association between IgE levels for a panel of common indoor allergens and glaucoma. Weighted estimates were calculated based on the multistage NHANES sampling design for a weighted total of 83 308 318 participants. It was concluded that sensitisation to the cat and cockroach antigens were associated with increased odds of glaucoma, while the dog antigen …