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Eur J Epidemiol. 2012 May;27(5):385-93. doi: 10.1007/s10654-012-9672-z. Epub 2012 Mar 30.

Nutrient intake and risk of open-angle glaucoma: the Rotterdam Study.

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Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam, PO Box 2040, 3000 CA Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Open-angle glaucoma (OAG) is the commonest cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. Apart from an increased intraocular pressure (IOP), oxidative stress and an impaired ocular blood flow are supposed to contribute to OAG. The aim of this study was to determine whether the dietary intake of nutrients that either have anti-oxidative properties (carotenoids, vitamins, and flavonoids) or influence the blood flow (omega fatty acids and magnesium) is associated with incident OAG. We investigated this in a prospective population-based cohort, the Rotterdam Study. A total of 3502 participants aged 55 years and older for whom dietary data at baseline and ophthalmic data at baseline and follow-up were available and who did not have OAG at baseline were included. The ophthalmic examinations comprised measurements of the IOP and perimetry; dietary intake of nutrients was assessed by validated questionnaires and adjusted for energy intake. Cox proportional hazard regression analysis was applied to calculate hazard ratios of associations between the baseline intake of nutrients and incident OAG, adjusted for age, gender, IOP, IOP-lowering treatment, and body mass index. During an average follow-up of 9.7 years, 91 participants (2.6%) developed OAG. The hazard ratio for retinol equivalents (highest versus lowest tertile) was 0.45 (95% confidence interval 0.23-0.90), for vitamin B1 0.50 (0.25-0.98), and for magnesium 2.25 (1.16-4.38). The effects were stronger after the exclusion of participants taking supplements. Hence, a low intake of retinol equivalents and vitamin B1 (in line with hypothesis) and a high intake of magnesium (less unambiguous to interpret) appear to be associated with an increased risk of OAG.

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