BACKGROUND: The level of fasting plasma glucose (FPG) is positively associated with intraocular pressure. Diabetes causes early structural changes of retina, especially on ganglion cell layer. In this regard, the FPG level itself may also show an independent association with open angle glaucoma (OAG) development in general population. Herein, we investigate the association of the FPG level with the incidence of OAG. METHODS: Using nationally representative data from the Korean National Health Insurance System, 374,376 subjects ≥40 years of age without OAG who underwent health examinations from 2009 to 2013 were enrolled and followed to the end of 2014. Incident cases of OAG using the International Classification of Diseases 10 codes and medication information were analyzed based on the levels of FPG. RESULTS: Subjects with the highest FPG level (≥160 mg/dL), compared with the lowest level (<80 mg/dL), showed a higher hazard ratio (HR) [2.189; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.779-2.695; P for trend < 0.001] for OAG after adjustments for age and sex. This result persisted after further adjustments for the presence of type 2 diabetes, current smoking, drinking, and exercise habits, diastolic blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), and total cholesterol level (HR: 1.588; 95% CI: 1.268-1.989; P for trend < 0.001). The positive association between the FPG level and the incidence of OAG was distinct in subjects 40-64 years of age, those with a BMI <25 kg/m2, and those without hypertension (HR 2.022; 95% CI: 1.494-2.736; P for trend <0.001: HR 1.817; 95% CI: 1.372-2.407; P for trend < 0.001: HR 1.706; 95% CI: 1.180-2.467; P for trend <0.001, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: This nationwide population-based cohort study showed that the fasting glucose was associated with an increased risk of OAG. These findings suggest that subjects with high FPG levels require special attention when screening for glaucoma.
Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, St. Vincent's Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.