Metabolic syndrome and its components are associated with non-arteritic anterior ischaemic optic neuropathy

Darrell Kohli, Kristi Y. Wu, Launia J. White, David O. Hodge, John J. Chen, Gavin W. Roddy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose To determine whether metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a risk factor for various forms of optic neuropathy including non-arteritic anterior ischaemic optic neuropathy (NAION). Methods This population-based analysis identified patients ≥40 years of age in Olmsted County, Minnesota, USA using the Rochester Epidemiology Project 2005-2018. Patients with MetS were identified if three or more of the five standard criteria for diagnosing MetS were present: systemic hypertension, hyperglycaemia, hypertriglyceridaemia, reduced high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (hypoalphalipoproteinaemia) and central adiposity defined by increased body mass index. Charts of patients identified as having an optic neuropathy were reviewed to record specific diagnoses and compared with patients without ocular pathology other than cataract. The odds ratio (OR) of association with MetS was calculated and adjusted for age, sex and race with multivariate analysis for the various optic neuropathies. Results Patients with MetS were more likely to have an optic neuropathy than those without (OR 2.2, p<0.001). After adjusting for age, sex and race, the only optic neuropathy found to be significantly associated with MetS was NAION (OR 6.17, p=0.002). For patients with NAION, though each individual component of MetS was individually significantly associated with MetS, further analysis suggested that hypertriglyceridaemia, hypoalphalipoproteinaemia and hyperglycaemia were likely the key drivers in the overall significance between NAION and MetS. Conclusion Patients with MetS were more likely to have NAION. Further studies are needed to determine whether MetS is a modifiable risk factor for NAION.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere001111
JournalBMJ Open Ophthalmology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 3 2022


  • Optic Nerve

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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