Glaucoma, Alzheimer disease and other dementia: a longitudinal analysis

Ophthalmic Epidemiol. 2012 Oct;19(5):285-92. doi: 10.3109/09286586.2011.649228.


Purpose: To evaluate the risk of developing Alzheimer disease (AD) or other dementia in patients diagnosed with open-angle glaucoma (OAG) in a nationally representative longitudinal sample of elderly persons.

Methods: This retrospective cohort study (January 1, 1994-December 31, 2007) used Medicare 5% claims data. We identified beneficiaries aged 68+ years who had at least two claims with diagnoses of OAG and no Alzheimer or other dementia in 1994, using a 3-year look-back period between 1991 and 1993 (n = 63,235) and beneficiaries matched on age, sex, race, and Charlson index without a diagnosis of OAG throughout the observational period (n = 63,235), using propensity score matching. Using a Cox Proportional Hazards model, we analyzed time to AD diagnosis and time to AD or other dementia diagnosis.

Results: Elderly individuals diagnosed with OAG did not have an increased rate of AD and other dementia diagnosis compared to those without OAG during a 14-year follow-up period, even after controlling for relevant covariates present at baseline.

Conclusions: Individuals aged 68+ years diagnosed with OAG have a decreased rate of AD or other dementia diagnosis compared to control patients without an OAG diagnosis. Although OAG and AD are both age-related neurodegenerative diseases, our findings do not support a positive association.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis
  • Alzheimer Disease / epidemiology*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Glaucoma, Open-Angle / diagnosis
  • Glaucoma, Open-Angle / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Insurance Claim Review / statistics & numerical data
  • Intraocular Pressure
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Medicare / statistics & numerical data
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Time Factors
  • United States / epidemiology