New research conducted by scientists at the University of California, San Francisco, Duke University School of Medicine, and the Third Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang University in China indicates that using oral contraceptives for three or more years doubles a woman’s risk of having glaucoma.
The research results were based on an analysis of 3,406 women 40 years of age or older who participated in the vision and reproductive health questionnaire and underwent eye exams as a part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data collected.
Women who took oral contraceptives for three or more years were twice as likely to develop glaucoma regardless of the brand or type of oral contraceptive that they took. Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in the world.
The researchers did not do any work that defines the cause of glaucoma produced by oral contraceptives if there is one.
The basis for the research is to advise women, gynecologists, and ophthalmologists of a potential problem that is easily controlled.
The solution to the problem is to change the method of contraception used from oral contraceptives. This change is particularly advisable in women who have a family member that has a history of glaucoma.