No evidence of a causal relationship between hypothyroidism and glaucoma: A Danish nationwide register-based cohort study

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Background An interrelationship between hypothyroidism and glaucoma, due to a shared autoimmune background or based on deposition of mucopolysaccharides in the trabecular meshwork in the eye, has been suggested but is at present unsubstantiated. Therefore, our objective was to investigate, at a nationwide and population-based level, whether there is such an association. Subjects and methods Observational cohort study using record-linkage data from nationwide Danish health registers. 121,799 individuals diagnosed with a first episode of hypothyroidism were identified and were matched with 4 non-hypothyroid controls according to age and sex. Prevalence of glaucoma was recorded and cases and controls were followed over a mean of 7.1 years (range 0±17). Logistic and Cox regression models were used to assess the risk of glaucoma before and after the diagnosis of hypothyroidism, respectively. Results Overall, we found a higher prevalence of glaucoma in subjects with hypothyroidism as compared to controls (4.6% vs. 4.3%, p < 0.001). Prior to the diagnosis of hypothyroidism, the odds ratio (OR) was significantly increased for glaucoma [1.09; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.04-1.13]. Based on the Cox regression model, there was no increased risk of glaucoma after the diagnosis of hypothyroidism [hazard ratio (HR) 1.00; 95% CI: 0.96-1.06], and the HR decreased further after adjusting for pre-existing co-morbidity (0.88; 95% CI: 0.84-0.93). Conclusions There was an increased risk of glaucoma before but not after the diagnosis of hypothyroidism, suggesting that screening for glaucoma in hypothyroid individuals is unwarranted.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0192311
Issue number2
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Denmark/epidemiology
  • Female
  • Glaucoma/complications
  • Humans
  • Hypothyroidism/complications
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Registries
  • Young Adult


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