Elevated intraocular pressure is associated with insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome

Diabetes Metab Res Rev. Sep-Oct 2005;21(5):434-40. doi: 10.1002/dmrr.529.


Background and aim: Elevated intraocular pressure (IOP), a well-known risk factor for glaucoma, has recently been shown to be associated with some metabolic complications and obesity. We investigated the link between IOP and metabolic disturbances, focusing especially on metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance.

Methods: Eye examinations, including IOP measurement, were conducted on 943 subjects (533 men and 410 women). Body mass index (BMI), percent body fat, waist circumference, systolic and diastolic pressure, fasting insulin, glucose, lipids, and other metabolic parameters were measured. The homeostasis model assessment (HOMA) score and McAuley index were calculated to assess whole-body insulin resistance.

Results: Both of these insulin resistance indices showed positive associations with IOP (p < 0.05), even after statistical adjustment for other risk factors. IOP was higher in participants with metabolic syndrome, as compared to those who did not have metabolic syndrome. The mean IOP tended to increase linearly with the presence of increasing numbers of components for metabolic syndrome.

Conclusions: These results suggest that insulin resistance might contribute to an explanation that would account for many previous findings concerning the association between IOP and obesity, hypertension, and diabetes.

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen
  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Composition
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Fasting
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Intraocular Pressure*
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Triglycerides