Oral Contraceptive Use and Prevalence of Self-Reported Glaucoma or Ocular Hypertension in the United States

Published:February 10, 2016DOI:


      To investigate the association between oral contraceptive (OC) use and glaucoma prevalence in the United States.


      Cross-sectional study.


      A total of 3406 female participants, aged 40 years or older, from the 2005 to 2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, who reported a presence or absence of glaucoma or ocular hypertension completed both the vision and the reproductive health questionnaires and underwent eye examinations.


      Multivariate regression analysis was used to assess the correlation between OC use and self-reported glaucoma or ocular hypertension (n = 231 cases), controlling for potential confounders, including age, ethnicity, systemic comorbidities such as hypertension and stroke, ocular diseases such as cataract and diabetic retinopathy, and reproductive health factors, including age at menopause, age at menarche, history of hormone replacement therapy, and gynecological surgical history.

      Main Outcome Measures

      The outcome variable was self-reported glaucoma or ocular hypertension.


      After adjusting for confounders, those with ≥3 years of OC use had greater odds (odds ratio, 1.94; 95% confidence interval, 1.22–3.07) of self-reported glaucoma or ocular hypertension. Other factors associated with higher glaucoma or ocular hypertension prevalence included older age, African American race, and later age at menarche.


      Oral contraceptive use may be associated with increased risk of self-reported glaucoma or ocular hypertension.

      Abbreviations and Acronyms:

      BMI (body mass index), CDR (cup-to-disc ratio), CI (confidence interval), FDT (frequency doubling technology), IOP (intraocular pressure), NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey), OAG (open-angle glaucoma), OC (oral contraceptive), OR (odds ratio), PMH (postmenopausal hormone), POAG (primary open-angle glaucoma), RGC (retinal ganglion cell)
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