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Diabetes: a risk factor for glaucoma?
  1. Sally Primus1,
  2. Alon Harris1,
  3. Brent A Siesky1,
  4. Giovanna Guidoboni2
  1. 1Department of Ophthalmology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
  2. 2Department of Mathematics, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
  1. Correspondence to Professor Alon Harris, Department of Ophthalmology, 702 Rotary Circle, Room 137, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA; alharris{at}

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Diabetes and glaucoma are two of the leading causes of blindness worldwide. In the USA, it is estimated that by the year 2020, 3.3 million patients will have glaucomatous eye disease. Up to 45% of diabetics will develop retinopathy, with an expected 7.2 million patients with diabetic eye disease by 2020.1 The relationship between diabetes and glaucoma is not well established and currently remains the subject of much controversy. This controversy poses several important questions. Do patients with diabetes have a greater risk of developing glaucoma? Is glaucoma progression faster and more severe in patients with diabetic glaucoma? If diabetes increases risk for glaucoma, what is the aetiology of this increased risk?

Elucidation of the possible interaction of mechanisms of diabetes and glaucoma and their associated risks, is currently unclear, as studies over the last several decades have been contradictory. Several population-based studies have shown that patients with diabetes have increased risk for the development and severity of glaucoma.2 …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.