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Birth Control Linked to Eye Problems

Update Date: Nov 18, 2013 02:11 PM EST

Women who take birth control are more likely to suffer eye problems, a new study suggests.

New research reveals that women who have taken oral contraceptives for three or more years are twice as likely to suffer from glaucoma, which is one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide.

Researchers examined data from 3,406 women aged 40 years or older from across the United States. The women were part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which was administered by the Centers for Disease Control.

The women were asked to complete the survey's vision and reproductive health questionnaire and underwent eye exams.

The findings revealed that women who had used birth control, no matter which kind, for longer tan three years are 2.05 times more likely to also report diagnosis of glaucoma.

Researchers said the latest findings suggest that the long-term use of contraceptive might be a potential risk factor for glaucoma.

"This study should be an impetus for future research to prove the cause and effect of oral contraceptives and glaucoma," lead researcher Shan Lin, M.D., a professor of clinical ophthalmology at the University of California San Francisco, said in a news release.

"At this point, women who have taken oral contraceptives for three or more years should be screened for glaucoma and followed closely by an ophthalmologist, especially if they have any other existing risk factors," he added.

The findings were presented at the 117th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology in New Orleans.

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