Metformin may lower open-angle glaucoma risk

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Metformin may lower open-angle glaucoma risk
Metformin may lower open-angle glaucoma risk

HealthDay News — Metformin is associated with a lower risk of developing open-angle glaucoma according to a study published in JAMA Ophthalmology.

“Caloric restriction mimetic drugs have geroprotective effects that delay or reduce risks for a variety of age-associated systemic diseases, suggesting that such drugs might also have the potential to reduce risks of blinding ophthalmologic conditions for which age is a major risk factor,” explained Julia Richards, PhD, of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues.

To determine whether the metformin hydrochloride is associated with reduced risk of open-angle glaucoma (OAG) in patients with diabetes mellitus, the investigators culled 10 years of data on 150,016 patients with diabetes. All patients were aged 40 years or older at the start of the study. Of the participants, 3.9% had developed OAG.

Patients taking the highest amount of metformin had a 25% reduced risk of developing OAG compared with those not taking the medication. For every 1-gram increase in metformin taken, the risk was reduced by 0.16%.

Taking a standard dose of metformin (2 grams per day) for two years may reduce the risk for OAG by 20.8%, the investigators estimated. This risk reduction was seen even after accounting for lower blood glucose levels, the study authors said. Other diabetes medications were not associated with reduced risk of OAG.

"This study suggests that metformin may be affecting OAG risk on multiple levels, some involving improved glycemic control and some involving mechanisms outside glycemic control such as neurogenesis, inflammatory systems, or longevity pathways targeted by caloric restriction mimetic drugs," concluded the researchers.

"If confirmed by prospective clinical trials, these findings could lead to novel treatments for this sight-threatening disease."


  1. Richards J et al. JAMA Ophthalmology. 2015; doi: 10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2015.1440.
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