A 2018 study suggests blood pressure that is not too high or low could help reduce the risk of glaucoma, a common cause of vision loss and blindness.
Researchers have known that blood pressure and glaucoma are connected. Hypotension, or low blood pressure, is a risk factor for open-angle glaucoma. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is another known glaucoma risk factor. A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension suggests maintaining a blood pressure that is somewhere in the middle is best for preventing glaucoma. Scientists refer to this optimum blood pressure range as the “Goldilocks scenario.”
What is the Optimum Blood Pressure Range?
The study included more than 4,000 participants ages 40 or over from the 2005 to 2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES). Standard blood pressure readings are measured in milligrams of mercury (mmHg), with the diastolic blood pressure reading on top and the systolic blood pressure on the bottom.
Glaucoma incidence increased when the systolic blood pressure (the reading on bottom) was greater than or equal to 161 mmHg or less than or equal to 110 mmHg. In other words, having high or low blood pressure increased glaucoma incidence.
Patients with diastolic blood pressure between 81 mmHg and 90 mmHg and systolic blood pressure between 111 mmHg and 120 mmHg were the least likely to develop glaucoma. This blood pressure range is referred to as the “Goldilocks scenario.”
What is Your Glaucoma Risk?
Everyone has an ideal blood pressure, so your optimum blood pressure range may be too high or too low for someone else. The best way to prevent glaucoma is to schedule routine comprehensive eye exams with your eye doctor. Your doctor will perform many tests during your exam to evaluate your eye health, and one of these is a glaucoma test.
In the future, eye doctors may include blood pressure readings as part of glaucoma evaluation. This measure may prove to be a simple, quick method of determining one of many risk factors for glaucoma. Other glaucoma risk factors include:
- Family history of the disease
- Eye injury or eye surgery
- Severe myopia (nearsightedness)
- Steroid use
Most eye conditions do not show symptoms in early stages, so it is imperative to visit your eye doctor regularly for healthy vision. Along with having yearly eye exams, you should also have annual well visits with your primary care physician for routine checks, preventative screenings and lab work.
If it has been more than a year since your last comprehensive eye exam, call your ophthalmologist today to schedule an appointment.