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Association between metformin use with circumpapillary retinal nerve fibre layer thickness and capillary vessel density in glaucoma

Abstract

Background/aims To investigate the association between use of metformin and circumpapillary retinal nerve fibre layer (cpRNFL) thickness, as well as whole image capillary density (wiCD), in patients with glaucoma.

Methods This cross-sectional study included patients with glaucoma suspect or primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) underwent optical coherence tomography angiography imaging. Use and duration of antidiabetic medications were assessed at the time of imaging. Multivariable linear mixed-effect modelling was used to estimate the effect of diabetes medication on wiCD and cpRNFL while controlling for covariates including age, race, body mass index, diagnosis, 24–2 visual field mean deviation, and intraocular pressure, average signal strength index as well as any variables that showed a p <0.1 in the univariable analysis.

Results A total of 577 eyes (330 POAG and 247 glaucoma suspect) of 346 patients were included. Sixty-five patients (23%) had diabetes, of whom 55 (78.5%) used metformin, and 17 (26.2%) used insulin. After adjusting for covariates, the association between metformin use and wiCD (1.56 (95% CI 0.40 to 2.71); p=0.008), duration of metformin use and wiCD (0.12 (95% CI 0.02 to 0.22) per 1 year longer; p=0.037), and metformin use and cpRNFL thickness (5.17 (95% CI 1.24 to 9.10) µm; p=0.010) had statistically significant associations in each model.

Conclusions Metformin use was associated with higher wiCD and thicker cpRNFL. These findings indicate a potential association, underscoring the need for longitudinal studies to determine if metformin plays a role in the retinal conditions of patients with glaucoma.

Trial registration number NCT00221897

  • Glaucoma

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. The datasets generated and/or analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

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