Methods: The investigators conducted a population-based cohort study utilizing the UK General Practice Research Database (1987-2009) linked to the national hospital registry of England (1997-2008). Incident MS patients (5576 cases) were identified and each was matched to six patients without MS (controls) by age, gender, and practice.
Results: MS patients had no overall increased risk of cataract, adjusted (adj.) HR 1.15 (95% CI 0.94-1.41) or glaucoma, adj. HR 1.02 (95% CI 0.78-1.33). However the risk of cataract (adj. HR 2.45 (95% CI 1.56-3.86)) and glaucoma (adj. HR 1.70 (95% CI 1.01-2.86)) was significantly greater in patients < 50 years, particularly in men < 50 years: cataract, adj. HR 4.23 (95% CI 2.22-8.05) and glaucoma, adj. HR 2.76 (95% CI 1.28-5.93).
|Magnified view of cataract in human eye, seen on examination with a slit lamp|
Conclusion: This is the first study which shows that the risk of cataract and glaucoma is elevated in MS patients younger than 50 years, particularly men.
“The results of this study are interesting and should inform clinical practice. In other words it is important for MS’ers to have regular eye checks and not assume that their visual problems are MS-related. Glaucoma and cataract are both treatable causes of visual loss. In the case of glaucoma the visual loss can be permanent.”