Feeling the Pressure

Study looks at glaucoma and blood pressure links in patients with migraines

(RxWiki News) Yury S Astakhov, MD, PhD, of Pavlov Medical University, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation, has looked at how daytime and nighttime blood pressure levels may be related to the development of glaucoma in people with migraines.

Although generally it doesn't show signs at first, if left untreated, glaucoma can cause blindness due to excess pressure that damages the optic nerve. Migraine is a known risk factor of open-angle glaucoma, and the association between migraine and glaucoma is even stronger for patients with normal-tension glaucoma, in which the pressure within the eye is normal, but optic-nerve damage still occurs.

Glaucoma patients who have low blood pressure at night are more likely to develop irreversible visual field loss that begins with loss of the peripheral vision.

Astakhov and his team compared daytime and nighttime systolic and diastolic blood pressures in 12 patients who had migraine and glaucoma with 16 patients with migraine but no glaucoma. They found migraine patients with glaucoma had excessive decreases of more than 20 percent in their diastolic-pressure levels at night.

"We conclude that low diastolic blood pressure at night is a possible risk factor for glaucoma in patients with migraine," Astakhov said.

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Review Date: 
December 17, 2010