Alcohol, Intraocular Pressure, and Open-Angle Glaucoma: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis


Stuart KV, Madjedi K, Luben RN, Chua SYL, Warwick AN, Chia M, Pasquale LR, Wiggs JL, Kang JH, Hysi PG, Tran JH, Foster PJ, Khawaja AP, for Collaboration MRFG. Alcohol, Intraocular Pressure, and Open-Angle Glaucoma: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Ophthalmology 2022;129(6):637-652.

Date Published:

2022 06


TOPIC: This systematic review and meta-analysis summarizes the existing evidence for the association of alcohol use with intraocular pressure (IOP) and open-angle glaucoma (OAG). CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Understanding and quantifying these associations may aid clinical guidelines or treatment strategies and shed light on disease pathogenesis. The role of alcohol, a modifiable factor, in determining IOP and OAG risk also may be of interest from an individual or public health perspective. METHODS: The study protocol was preregistered in the Open Science Framework Registries ( Eligible articles (as of May 14, 2021) from 3 databases (PubMed, Embase, Scopus) were independently screened and quality assessed by 2 reviewers. All case-control, cross-sectional, and cohort studies reporting a quantitative effect estimate and 95% confidence interval (CI) for the association between alcohol use and either IOP or OAG were included. The evidence for the associations with both IOP and OAG was qualitatively summarized. Effect estimates for the association with OAG were pooled using random effects meta-analysis. Studies not meeting formal inclusion criteria for systematic review, but with pertinent results, were also appraised and discussed. Certainty of evidence was assessed using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) framework. RESULTS: Thirty-four studies were included in the systematic review. Evidence from 10 studies reporting an association with IOP suggests that habitual alcohol use is associated with higher IOP and prevalence of ocular hypertension (IOP > 21 mmHg), although absolute effect sizes were small. Eleven of 26 studies, comprising 173 058 participants, that tested for an association with OAG met inclusion criteria for meta-analysis. Pooled effect estimates indicated a positive association between any use of alcohol and OAG (1.18; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.02-1.36; P = 0.03; I2 = 40.5%), with similar estimates for both prevalent and incident OAG. The overall GRADE certainty of evidence was very low. CONCLUSIONS: Although this meta-analysis suggests a harmful association between alcohol use and OAG, our results should be interpreted cautiously given the weakness and heterogeneity of the underlying evidence base, the small absolute effect size, and the borderline statistical significance. Nonetheless, these findings may be clinically relevant, and future research should focus on improving the quality of evidence.

See also: Glaucoma, June 2022, All, 2022
Last updated on 06/30/2022