Cocaine increases risk of open-angle glaucoma, the most common type of glaucoma, in users, a new study reveals.
The study of 5.3 million men and women revealed that after adjustments for race and age, current and former cocaine users had a 45 percent increased risk of glaucoma.
Men with open-angle glaucoma also had significant exposures to amphetamines and marijuana, although less than cocaine.
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).
"The association of illegal drug use with open-angle glaucoma requires further study, but if the relationship is confirmed, this understanding could lead to new strategies to prevent vision loss," said study first author Regenstrief Institute investigator Dustin French and an assistant professor of medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine.
Glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness in the United States.
Although this study determined significant increased risk for glaucoma in those with a history of drug use, it does not prove a causal relationship.
Study results appeared in the September issue of Journal of Glaucoma.