Increased Risk of Ocular Hypertension in Patients With Cushing’s Disease : Journal of Glaucoma

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Increased Risk of Ocular Hypertension in Patients With Cushing’s Disease

Ma, Yichen MS*; Chen, Zhengyuan MD†,‡,§,∥,¶; Ma, Zengyi MD†,‡,§,∥,¶; Ye, Hongying MD#; Zhang, Zhaoyun MD#; Wang, Yongfei MD†,‡,§,∥,¶; Yang, Huiyin BS*; Lu, Zhaozeng MD*; Wang, Zhiliang MD*; Qiao, Nidan MD, M.SCI†,‡,§,∥,¶; Xiao, Yiqin MD*; Zhao, Yao MD†,‡,§,∥,¶,**,††

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Journal of Glaucoma 31(12):p 941-946, December 2022. | DOI: 10.1097/IJG.0000000000002113



An increased risk of ocular hypertension was seen in Cushing's disease.


Systemic steroid use is a significant risk factor for increased intraocular pressure (IOP). The incidence of ocular hypertension may rise to 30%–40% of the general population due to topical or systemic glucocorticoid usage. However, the incidence of ocular hypertension in endogenous hypercortisolemia, as well as the ophthalmological outcomes after endocrine remission due to surgical resection, remain unknown.

Materials and Methods: 

The IOP, visual field, and peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer thickness were documented in all patients with Cushing’s disease (CD) admitted to a tertiary pituitary center for surgery from January to July 2019. Patients with acromegaly and patients with nonfunctioning pituitary adenoma (NFPA) during the same study period served as controls. We calculated the odds ratio (OR), identified the risk factors of developing ocular hypertension, and presented postoperative trends of the IOP.


A total of 52 patients (38.4±12.4 y old) with CD were included. The IOP was higher in patients with CD (left 19.4±5.4 mm Hg and right 20.0±7.1 mm Hg) than in patients with acromegaly (left 17.5±2.3 mm Hg and right 18.6±7.0 mm Hg, P=0.033) and patients with NFPA (left 17.8±2.6 mm Hg and right 17.4±2.4 mm Hg, P=0.005). A total of 21 eyes (20.2%) in patients with CD were diagnosed with ocular hypertension compared with 4 eyes (4.7%) in the acromegaly group and 4 eyes (4.5%) in the NFPA group. The OR of developing ocular hypertension in patients with CD was 5.1 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.3–25.1, P=0.029] and 6.6 (95% CI, 1.8–30.3, P=0.007) when compared with the 2 control groups. Among patients with CD, those with a higher urine-free cortisol were more likely to develop ocular hypertension (OR=19.4, 95% CI, 1.7–72.6). The IOP decreased at 1 month after surgery in patients with CD, and the change was sustained for 3 months after surgery.


An increased risk of ocular hypertension was seen in CD and suggests that endogenous hypercortisolemia should be considered as part of the glaucoma assessment. This result warrants the discretion of both ophthalmologists and neuroendocrinologists.

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