Both Diabetes and Glaucoma share common risk factors; diabetes and hyperglycaemia (too high blood glucose) are associated with glycation of lipids(altering of lipids (fat) in a negative way due to diabetes) and abnormalities of lipid metabolism which may increase oxidative stress and promote cellular apoptosis (cell death) – the same mechanism by which Retinal Ganglion Cell loss occurs in glaucoma1. Additionally, the presence of diabetes and elevated fasting glucose levels are associated with elevated levels of intraocular pressure.
Non- modifiable risk factors for glaucoma include:
- African ethnicity
- Older age
- Family history of glaucoma
- Duration of type 2 diabetes has been implicated as a risk factor for diabetes associated open angle glaucoma.
The only modifiable risk factor is intraocular pressure and as such presents as the mainstay of current glaucoma treatment 1.
Diabetics with Non Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy are more likely to develop primary open angle glaucoma, whereas diabetics with Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy are more likely to develop angle-closure glaucoma 3.