Background/aims To investigate the association between serum ferritin levels and glaucoma in a South Korean population.
Methods This retrospective cross-sectional study included 164 029 subjects who underwent screening at Kangbuk Samsung Hospital Health Screening Center between August 2012 and July 2013. All subjects underwent a physical examination, answered sociodemographic and behavioural questions, and provided samples for laboratory analyses. A digital fundus photograph of both eyes was taken, and all photographs were reviewed by ophthalmologists. The ophthalmologists determined if an eye had glaucoma based on criteria set forth by the International Society of Geographical and Epidemiological Ophthalmology and the appearance of the retinal nerve fibre layer and optic disc.
Results The mean serum ferritin level was 56.98 ng/mL in women and 223.82 ng/mL in men. After adjusting for age, serum iron, total iron-binding capacity (TIBC), transferrin saturation, white blood cell (WBC) count, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (HsCRP) and total vitamin D level, males in the highest quartile for serum ferritin level had a higher OR for glaucoma than males in the lowest quartile (OR=1.176, 95% CI 1.030 to 1.342, p=0.016); we did not observe this relationship among women. Other markers of iron metabolism, such as iron level, transferrin saturation and TIBC, and inflammation measures, including WBC, HsCRP and total vitamin D, were not associated with glaucoma.
Conclusions High serum ferritin level was associated with a high risk of glaucoma in men, but not in women. Because serum ferritin is related to oxidative stress and inflammation, it might play a role in glaucoma development.