Illegal Drug Use Increases Risk of Glaucoma

A recent study published in the September issue of the Journal of Glaucoma reveals that current and former cocaine users had a 45 percent increased risk of glaucoma. These patients also had exposure to amphetamines and marijuana. 5.3 million men and women seen in Department of Veterans Affairs outpatient clinics in a one-year period found that use of cocaine is predictive of open-angle glaucoma, the most common type of glaucoma. Patients with open-angle glaucoma and history of exposure to illegal drugs were nearly 20 years younger than glaucoma patients without a drug exposure history (54 years old versus 73 years old).

This study is significant since glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness in the United States. Dr Ashraf of the Atlanta Vision Institute also adds that there are no symptoms such as blurry vision, redness, or pain until late in the disease process. By the time the patient notices changes in his or her vision, a substantial amount of peripheral vision has been lost and cannot be reversed even with treatment.

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