Metformin Use Linked to Reduced Glaucoma Risk
Taking metformin - a drug used to treat high blood sugar in diabetics - is associated with a reduced risk for open-angle glaucoma (OAG), new research suggests.
Eye disease is a common complication of diabetes, and people with diabetes are about twice as likely to develop glaucoma as non-diabetics, according to the Glaucoma Research Foundation.
A study from researchers at the University of Michigan found that diabetic patients who were prescribed the highest dosages of metformin (more than 1,110 grams in two years) had a 25 percent lower risk for OAG compared with patients who did not take metformin.
2 grams per day = 20 percent lower risk
For every one-gram increase in metformin, a 0.16 percent reduction in OAG was observed, researchers reported. This would equate to a 20.8 percent lower risk of OAG if a person took 2 grams of metformin daily for two years.
It isn't clear whether metformin may help to lower risk for other diabetic eye diseases, like macular degeneration, cataracts or diabetic retinopathy.
"Although the impact of metformin on risk is known for some traits such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some specific cancers, this study points out the importance of understanding the potential impact of CR (caloric restriction) mimetic drugs on the risk of developing other medical conditions that affect older persons," the authors wrote in JAMA Ophthalmol.