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    Poor oral health may be associated with POAG

    Study raises possibility that systemic adverse effects may impact eye health

    Take-home message: Recent tooth loss and periodontal disease have been linked to primary open-angle glaucoma in a large prospective study of male health professionals.

    Reviewed by Jae Hee Kang, ScD

    Recent tooth loss—with or without periodontal disease—was associated with a significantly increased risk of primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), according to findings from a long-term prospective study of oral health in male health professionals.

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    “We observed that men who differed in number of natural teeth, in whether they had any periodontal disease, or in whether they had ever received root canal treatment, did not show differences in the risk of developing POAG,” said Jae Hee Kang, ScD, co-author of the study recently published in Ophthalmology.1 “However, compared to men who reported no tooth loss, men who reported losing one or more teeth recently (in the past 2 years) had a 45% increased risk of POAG (95% CI, 1.06-1.97) and men who reported having both periodontal disease and had lost one or more teeth in the past 2 years had an 85% increased risk of POAG (95% CI, 1.07-3.18).”

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    This association did not differ by IOP at diagnosis, but other possible associations were identified, said Dr. Kang, assistant professor of medicine, Channing Division of Network Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston.

    “We observed some suggestion that these relations were strongest in those whose paracentral vision was primarily affected versus those whose peripheral vision was primarily affected,” said Dr. Kang, adding that paracentral vision loss in POAG has previously been shown to be related to impaired blood flow.

    Testing the hypothesis

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