IU Study Shows Link Between Glaucoma And Cocaine Use

Using cocaine can increase the likelihood of developing glaucoma by as much as 40 percent, says new IU School of Medicine research.

Doctor

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An IU School of Medicine Doctor says cocaine use can lead to greater incidence of glaucoma.

A new study shows a potential connection between cocaine use and glaucoma.

“Some of these patients were scheduled for glaucoma surgery and as we were going through the medical records, we saw that many of these patients had been previously been screened positive for a history of substance abuse,” said Dr. Dustin French, who started the study at the IU School of Medicine. He said current and former cocaine users have a 45 percent higher risk for glaucoma, after adjusting for race and age, adding cocaine use can cause a physiological change in users.

“There’s been animal experiments and some studies that have shown that, you know, cocaine can affect the dynamics of the gel within the eyes,” French said.

French said the study started with a number of younger patients coming in to Department of Veterans affairs clinics with glaucoma. Those that suffered from glaucoma and had a history of illegal drug use were often 20 years younger, on average, than those without illegal drug use.

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