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Medications for glaucoma associated with lower mortality risk

Glaucoma patients who are treated with glaucoma medications may benefit in the form of a lowered mortality risk. A study published in the February issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology sheds light on the association. Past studies of glaucoma and mortality produced contradictory results. In this study, researchers examined data from a large managed care network which included 21,506 patients aged 40 and older who either had diagnosed glaucoma or were suspected to have glaucoma. Researchers found that patients were 74% less likely to die during a five-year period if they were prescribed any form of glaucoma medication. The mortality risk was decreased further as the number of prescribed medications increased. While it is uncertain why glaucoma medication use is linked to a lower mortality risk, one theory is that topical medications absorbed systemically could affect other body systems such as the cardiovascular system. Another theory is patients who take medication for glaucoma might be healthier than their untreated counterparts. The study offered no definitive results and glaucoma patients should consult with their doctors regarding the best treatment for their condition.* Andrea Schumann Staff Writer

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