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Glaucoma and Erectile Dysfunction (ED) May Be Linked

Oct 04, 2016

Glaucoma and Erectile Dysfunction (ED) May Be Linked

Researchers from the University of British Columbia in Canada have found a link between glaucoma and erectile dysfunction (ED) – the inability to get and keep an erection firm enough for intercourse.

The study, published recently in the Journal of Glaucoma, found that men with glaucoma are over two and a half times more likely to have ED than men without the eye disease.

Glaucoma is the result of damage to the optic nerve, which is connected to the retina. When a person sees an image, the retina sends a message to the brain. The brain uses this information to interpret what is being seen. Glaucoma is often caused by excess fluid at the front of the eye, which increases pressure. But it can also be caused by inflammation and eye injury.

The scientists collected data from 128 men over age 40 who were patients at an ophthalmology clinic. Sixty-one men had open-angle glaucoma, the most common type. The remaining 67 patients did not have glaucoma.

Each man completed a questionnaire called the Index of Erectile Dysfunction (IIEF), which is commonly by scientists to assess sexual function.

Based on IIEF scores, the researchers determined that 40% of the men with glaucoma had ED. Severity of both conditions was correlated – the more severe the glaucoma, the more severe the ED.

The researchers also considered other factors that can contribute to ED, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high lipid levels, and smoking, but the association between glaucoma and ED remained.

The findings do not mean that glaucoma causes ED or vice versa. It simply means that there is an association.

It was not clear why the two conditions were related, but the scientists thought that inflammation in the blood vessels could be involved. Problems with blood flow can cause problems with the eyes and with erections.

Resources

American Academy of Ophthalmology

Boyd, Kierstan

“Causes of Glaucoma”

(December 29, 2015)

http://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-glaucoma

 

Boyd, Kierstan

“What Is Glaucoma?”

(January 10, 2015)

http://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-glaucoma

 

Journal of Glaucoma

Law, Geoffrey BScH, et al.

“Correlation in Severity Between Glaucoma and Erectile Dysfunction”

(Abstract. September 2016)

http://journals.lww.com/glaucomajournal/Abstract/2016/09000/Correlation_in_Severity_Between_Glaucoma_and.2.aspx

 

National Post

Blackwell, Tom

“Glaucoma and impotence unexpectedly linked in new study from UBC”

(August 29, 2016)

http://news.nationalpost.com/health/glaucoma-and-impotence-unexpectedly-linked-in-new-study-from-ubc?__lsa=a587-62c0