Hormone therapy and intraocular pressure in nonglaucomatous eyes : Menopause

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Hormone therapy and intraocular pressure in nonglaucomatous eyes

Tint, Naing L. MBChB, MRCOphth1,2; Alexander, Philip MBBS, MRCOphth1; Tint, Khin M. MBBS, FRCS2; Vasileiadis, George T. MD, MSc3; Yeung, Aaron M. MBChB, MRCOphth2; Azuara-Blanco, Augusto MD, PhD, FRCS4

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Menopause 17(1):p 157-160, January 2010. | DOI: 10.1097/gme.0b013e3181b82fb4


The influence of sex hormones on intraocular pressure (IOP) has been the focus of recent debate. Previous studies investigating the effects of hormone therapy (HT) on IOP in postmenopausal women have produced conflicting results but have been limited by small numbers of participants. The aim of our study was to compare IOP in women without glaucoma taking HT with those not taking HT.


A prospective cross-sectional study of postmenopausal women visiting a single ophthalmic medical practitioner was conducted. All women with a history of intraocular disease, a family history of glaucoma, or refractive error exceeding ±5 diopters were excluded. Applanation tonometry was used to measure IOP, and participants were then asked if they were current HT users.


A total of 263 participants were recruited, of whom 91 reported current use of HT; 172 had never used HT. Within the HT group, 33 were taking an estrogen-therapy and 58 were taking a estrogen-progesterone therapy. Mean IOP in the HT group was significantly lower than that in the non-HT group; the mean difference was 1.41 mm Hg (P < 0.001). This difference remained statistically significant after statistical correction for age, use of systemic β-blockers, and time of IOP measurement. There was no significant difference in mean IOP between women taking combined versus those taking estrogen-only preparations.


Our study showed that IOP was significantly lower in women taking HT than in those who had never taken HT, even after removing other possible influences on IOP. The IOP-lowering effect of HT deserves further investigation to explore whether it may represent a possible new therapeutic modality for glaucoma.

©2010The North American Menopause Society

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