To examine the relationship between peripheral artery disease (PAD) and glaucoma.
As part of a population-based study of 3280 persons of Malay descent (78.7% response) aged 40 to 80 years examined between August 1, 2004, and June 30, 2006, the ankle-brachial index (ABI) was assessed in all persons with known diabetes mellitus and every fifth systematically sampled participant without diabetes. Peripheral artery disease was deemed present if the ABI was 0.9 or less. Glaucoma was diagnosed using International Society of Geographical and Epidemiological Ophthalmology criteria.
Of the 922 participants who had ABI measured, 79 (8.6%) had PAD and 42 (4.6%) had glaucoma. Persons with PAD were more likely to have glaucoma (11.4% vs 3.9%; age- and sex-adjusted odds ratio [OR], 2.80; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.26-6.24), higher intraocular pressure (age- and sex-adjusted mean, 16.4 vs 15.5; P = .05), and a larger vertical cup-disc ratio (age- and sex-adjusted mean, 0.45 vs 0.40; P = .02). The association of PAD with glaucoma persisted while controlling for hypertension, diabetes, body mass index, serum triglyceride levels, and β-blocker use (multivariable-adjusted OR, 2.55; 95% CI, 1.09-5.98) and was stronger in people with diabetes (multivariable-adjusted OR, 2.91; 95% CI, 1.14-7.44).
Peripheral artery disease was related to glaucoma, supporting an association between large-vessel atherosclerotic disease and glaucoma. However, because the study sample included a high proportion of persons with diabetes, further research is needed to determine the relevance of these results to the general population.