To examine the relationship of diabetes mellitus and metabolic abnormalities with intraocular pressure and glaucoma.
A population-based study was conducted in 3280 (78.7% response) Malay adults aged 40 to 80 years. Diabetes was defined as a random serum glucose level of 200 mg/dL or greater or physician diagnosis of diabetes mellitus. Metabolic abnormalities including body mass index, lipid levels, and blood pressure were measured. Glaucoma was defined from a standardized examination by means of the International Society for Geographical and Epidemiological Ophthalmology criteria.
There were 764 persons (23.3%) who had diabetes. After controlling for age, sex, education, smoking, central corneal thickness, and diabetes treatment, intraocular pressure was higher in persons with than without diabetes (16.7 vs 15.0 mm Hg, P < .001) and in those with higher serum glucose levels (P < .001), glycosylated hemoglobin concentrations (P < .001), total cholesterol levels (P = .001), triglyceride levels (P = .002), and body mass index (P = .001). However, the prevalence of glaucoma was similar between persons with and without diabetes (4.7% vs 4.5%). In multivariate logistic regression models adjusting for age, sex, education, smoking, central corneal thickness, and diabetes treatment, diabetes was not associated with glaucoma (odds ratio, 1.00; 95% confidence interval, 0.63-1.61).
These data suggest that, although diabetes and metabolic abnormalities may be associated with a small increase in intraocular pressure, they are not significant risk factors for glaucomatous optic neuropathy.