Glaucoma remains the world’s leading cause of irreversible blindness and though intraocular pressure (IOP) is the most prevalent risk factor and only reliable therapeutic target, a number of systemic disease associations have been reported. Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a constellation of findings that includes systemic hypertension, abdominal obesity, glucose intolerance, and dyslipidemia. MetS is becoming increasingly common world-wide, with prevalence up to 40% in some countries. Not only is MetS a significant cause of morbidity, but it is also associated with an increase in all-cause mortality. Reports have been conflicting regarding the association of individual components of MetS, including systemic hypertension and diabetes, with elevated IOP or glaucoma. However, though limitations in the existing literature are present, it is clear that MetS is associated with IOP as well as glaucoma. Additional studies are needed to clarify this association by incorporating additional metrics including assessment of central corneal thickness as well as optic nerve structure and function. Future studies are also needed to determine whether lifestyle modification or systemic treatment of MetS could reduce the incidence or progression of glaucoma.
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