Overweight women may be less likely to develop glaucoma

February 15, 2011 in Nutrition for Older Adults, Nutrition Topics in the News, Women's Health

Overweight women may be less likely to develop glaucoma
According to new study findings from Dutch researchers, overweight older women may be less likely than their thinner peers to develop glaucoma, a potentially blinding eye disease.

To investigate, researchers followed nearly 4000 glaucoma-free adults aged 55 or older. Over an average of 10 years, just under three percent developed glaucoma.

Researchers found that among women, each unit increase in body mass index (roughly six pounds for a women of average height and weight), was connected to a seven percent reduction in the risk of developing glaucoma.

There was no evidence that other lifestyle factors, including smoking and drinking habits, were important in participants' glaucoma risk. Nor did education or income appear to play a role.

The findings do not prove that extra pounds, themselves, are protective in women. But researchers say that one possibility is that there is some benefit from the higher estrogen levels that may be found in women with more body fat.

While there appears to be a protective effect from extra body weight, researchers are not suggesting women pack on extra pounds as a way to ward off glaucoma.  According to researchers, the best way to prevent vision loss from the disorder is to have regular eye exams and, if glaucoma is found, start early treatment.

The findings, published in the Archives of Ophthalmology, back up a U.S. study published last August - the first of its kind to show a link between higher BMI and lower glaucoma risk in women.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.