A new study finds a link between using the pill form of birth control and glaucoma risk.
Women that take pill contraceptives for more than 3 years are at a two times higher risk of getting glaucoma later in life, according to new research.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in the U.S. It is a group of eye conditions that gradually damage the optic nerve.
“The simple definition of glaucoma is just high eye pressure,” explains Dr. Raul Pena, ophthalmologist.
When the pressure goes up, it will damage the optic nerve and those nerve endings and and that’s how you start to lose the eye and have some tunnel vision and all that.
From the study, doctors were able to determine a relationship between the hormone estrogen and eyesight. They noticed low-estrogen levels in women increase glaucoma risk and that birth control pills also lower estrogen levels.
Anyone over the age of 40 is at risk, especially certain ethnicities like African Americans and Hispanics.
“Anybody can get glaucoma, and if you have a family member with glaucoma, the risk of you getting glaucoma goes up,” explains Peña.
There are treatments to slow the progression of the disease, but no cure.
The study results do not mean women should stop taking the pill, but provide motivation for women to be proactive about their vision health and know that there are other forms of birth control available.