Because early estrogen deficiency may increase the susceptibility of the optic nerve to glaucoma, we studied the association of early bilateral oophorectomy with glaucoma.
In the Mayo Clinic Cohort Study of Oophorectomy and Aging, we studied the risk of glaucoma by comparing women who underwent bilateral oophorectomy from 1950 to 1987 with age-matched referent women who did not undergo unilateral or bilateral oophorectomy. Glaucoma diagnostic codes were identified in the records linkage system of the Rochester Epidemiology Project. Hazard ratios (HRs) were calculated during a median follow-up of 25.5 years. Analyses were stratified by age at the time of bilateral oophorectomy (in tertiles).
Of 1,044 women who underwent bilateral oophorectomy before menopause, 147 developed glaucoma. Of 1,070 referent women, 133 developed glaucoma. Women who underwent bilateral oophorectomy showed no increased risk of glaucoma in the overall group (HR, 1.12; 95% CI, 0.89-1.42). However, women who underwent oophorectomy before the age of 43 years (n = 344; first tertile) had a significantly increased risk of glaucoma (HR, 1.60; 95% CI, 1.15-2.23). The results did not change after adjustment for hypertension, obesity, diabetes, or disorders of lipid metabolism at baseline. Approximately 11% of women who had undergone bilateral oophorectomy before the age of 43 years were treated with estrogen up to the age of 50 years; however, treatment did not reduce the association (HR, 1.59; 95% CI, 0.81-3.13).
Bilateral oophorectomy before the age of 43 years may increase the risk of glaucoma, and estrogen treatment does not seem to attenuate the risk.