Raised intraocular pressure (IOP) is the most important risk factor for developing glaucoma, the second commonest cause of blindness globally. Understanding associations with IOP and variations in IOP between countries may teach us about mechanisms underlying glaucoma. We examined cross-sectional associations with IOP in 43,500 European adults from 12 cohort studies belonging to the European Eye Epidemiology (E3) consortium. Each study conducted multivariable linear regression with IOP as the outcome variable and results were pooled using random effects meta-analysis. The association of standardized study IOP with latitude was tested using meta-regression. Higher IOP was observed in men (0.18 mmHg; 95 % CI 0.06, 0.31; P = 0.004) and with higher body mass index (0.21 mmHg per 5 kg/m2; 95 % CI 0.14, 0.28; P < 0.001), shorter height (-0.17 mmHg per 10 cm; 95 % CI -0.25, -0.08; P < 0.001), higher systolic blood pressure (0.17 mmHg per 10 mmHg; 95 % CI 0.12, 0.22; P < 0.001) and more myopic refraction (0.06 mmHg per Dioptre; 95 % CI 0.03, 0.09; P < 0.001). An inverted U-shaped trend was observed between age and IOP, with IOP increasing up to the age of 60 and decreasing in participants older than 70 years. We found no significant association between standardized IOP and study location latitude (P = 0.76). Novel findings of our study include the association of lower IOP in taller people and an inverted-U shaped association of IOP with age. We found no evidence of significant variation in IOP across Europe. Despite the limited range of latitude amongst included studies, this finding is in favour of collaborative pooling of data from studies examining environmental and genetic determinants of IOP in Europeans.
Keywords: Blood pressure; Body mass index; Epidemiology; Glaucoma; Intraocular pressure; Refractive errors.