Purpose: It has been suggested that female sex steroids have neuroprotective properties that may reduce risk of glaucoma in premenopausal women. In this study, we explored the associations of optic disc measures with female reproductive factors in a population of young women.
Design: Cohort study.
Methods: Young women (n = 494; age range, 18-22 years) were recruited as part of the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study. Information on age at menarche, parity, and use of hormonal contraceptives were obtained from questionnaires. Participants underwent an eye examination, including spectral-domain optical coherence tomography imaging, to obtain optic disc parameters.
Results: Women who had given birth at least once (parous women; n = 10) had larger vertical neuroretinal rim widths (P < 0.001) than nulliparous women (n = 484) after correcting for use of hormonal contraceptives, intraocular pressure, refractive error, and family history of glaucoma. Furthermore, vertical and horizontal cup-to-disc ratios, which are inherently related to neuroretinal rim width, were found to be smaller among parous women compared with nulliparous women (both P < 0.001). Age at menarche and use of hormonal contraceptives were not significantly associated with any optic disc parameters.
Conclusions: We found limited evidence that female reproductive factors were related with optic disc parameters during young adulthood. The association between parity and optic disc parameter, though significant, should be further investigated given the small number of parous women in the current sample. Future follow-ups of this cohort will allow us to explore for any associations of these factors with optic disc parameters and glaucoma risk at an older age.
Keywords: Raine Study; female reproductive factors; glaucoma; oestrogens; optic disc.
Copyright 2019 Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology.