Three toxic heavy metals in open-angle glaucoma with low-teen and high-teen intraocular pressure: A cross-sectional study from South Korea

Si Hyung Lee, Eun Min Kang, Gyu Ah Kim, Seung Woo Kwak, Joon Mo Kim, Hyoung Won Bae, Gong Je Seong, Chan Yun Kim

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18 Citations (Scopus)


Background: To investigate the association between heavy metal levels and open-angle glaucoma (OAG) with low- and high-teen baseline intraocular pressure (IOP) using a populationbased study design. Methods: This cross-sectional study included 5,198 participants older than 19 years of age who participated in the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES) from 2008 to 2012 and had blood heavy metal levels available. The OAG with normal baseline IOP (IOP ≤ 21 mmHg) subjects were stratified into low-teen OAG (baseline IOP ≤ 15 mmHg) and high-teen OAG (15 mmHg < baseline IOP ≤ 21 mmHg), and the association between blood lead, mercury, and cadmium levels and glaucoma prevalence was assessed for low- and high-teen OAG. Results: The adjusted geometric mean of blood cadmium levels was significantly higher in subjects with low-teen OAG than that of the non-glaucomatous group (P = 0.028), whereas there were no significant differences in blood lead and mercury levels. After adjusting for potential confounders, the low-teen OAG was positively associated with log-transformed blood cadmium levels (OR, 1.41; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.03-1.93; P = 0.026). For high-teen OAG, log-transformed blood levels of the three heavy metals were not associated with disease prevalence. The association between log-transformed blood cadmium levels and low- teen OAG was significant only in men (OR, 1.65; 95% CI, 1.10-2.48; P = 0.016), and not in women (OR, 1.10; 95% CI, 0.66-1.85; P = 0.709). Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that cadmium toxicity could play a role in glaucoma pathogenesis, particularly in men and in OAG with low-teen baseline IOP.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0164983
JournalPloS one
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Oct

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright 2016 Lee et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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