Common blood pressure drug linked to dangerous eye disease

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A recent study says that if you’re taking a certain kind of blood pressure medicine called Calcium Channel Blockers (CCBs), you may have a higher chance of getting glaucoma.

Glaucoma is an eye disease that can lead to vision loss if not treated.

The study, led by Dr. Alan Kastner and his team from Moorfields Eye Hospital and University College London, looked at the health data of 427,480 adults in the U.K. Of these, 33,175 people were taking CCBs.

Key Findings: CCBs and Eye Health

After taking into account things like age, lifestyle, and other medical conditions, the researchers found that people taking CCBs were more likely to have glaucoma.

Interestingly, they didn’t find this risk with other types of blood pressure medicine.

The study also showed that people on CCBs had specific changes in their eyes that are usually seen in early glaucoma, even though the pressure inside their eyes was normal.

Dr. Kastner’s team believes these findings need more research. They want to figure out if taking CCBs actually causes glaucoma or if there’s another reason for this connection. They also want to understand why these medicines have this effect on the eyes.

Why Does This Matter?

Blood pressure medicines like CCBs are widely used. They help relax blood vessels, making it easier for blood to flow and lowering blood pressure.

However, this new study suggests that while CCBs are doing their job in managing blood pressure, they might also be increasing the risk of glaucoma.

Glaucoma affects millions of people worldwide. It’s usually caused by increased pressure in the eyes, which can damage the optic nerve, leading to vision loss.

What’s troubling about the study’s findings is that the risk remained even when the eye pressure was normal. This could mean that there’s another way CCBs are affecting the eyes that we don’t yet understand.

Some Background Information

Glaucoma usually doesn’t have early symptoms, which makes it harder to catch in the early stages. By the time people realize something’s wrong, they might already have significant vision loss.

And once you lose vision to glaucoma, you can’t get it back. That’s why it’s crucial for people, especially those at higher risk, to get regular eye check-ups.

Blood pressure is another silent condition that can cause serious problems like heart disease and stroke if left untreated. That’s why many people take medications like CCBs.

But if these medicines are linked to another silent but serious condition like glaucoma, doctors and patients need to be extra careful.

What’s Next?

The study’s authors have called for more research to figure out if CCBs are indeed causing glaucoma. They also want to understand the reason behind this link.

For now, if you’re taking CCBs, it may be a good idea to talk to your doctor about these new findings, especially if you’re at higher risk for glaucoma.

Note: Some of the researchers have connections to drug companies, but it’s not clear how this may have influenced the study’s results.

If you care about eye health, please read studies about how to save your eyes from diabetes, and the treatments of dry eye you need to know.

For more information about eye disease, please see recent studies about how to protect your eyes from glaucoma, and results showing this eye surgery may reduce dementia risk.

The research findings can be found in JAMA Ophthalmology.

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