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Samantha Lee, Seyhan Yazar, Louis R. Pasquale, Paul Sanfilippo, Alex W. Hewitt, Martha Hickey, Rachel Skinner, David Mackey; The relationship between female reproductive factors and optic disc parameters in young female adults. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018;59(9):2732. doi: https://doi.org/.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
It has been suggested that oestrogens have neuroprotective properties that may reduce risk of glaucoma in premenopausal women. Given that endogenous oestrogen levels starts to rise steadily from adolescence around menarche, and can be influenced by parity and use of hormonal contraceptives, we explored the associations between measures of glaucoma-related ocular structures, age at menarche, and other female reproductive factors in a population of young female adults.
Young female adults (n=494; age 19-22 years) were recruited as part of the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort study. Participants underwent an eye examination, including spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) imaging. The six measures of interest generated by the SD-OCT were the neuroretinal rim areas, cup-to-disc (C/D) area ratio, horizontal and vertical rim widths and C/D ratios. Information on female reproductive factors, including age at menarche, parity, and use of hormonal contraceptive, were obtained from questionnaires. Regression models were generated to explore for how optic disc parameters may be associated with the various female reproductive factors.
Females who had given birth at least once (n=10) had larger vertical rim width (p=0.010), smaller C/D area ratio (p<0.001), and smaller horizontal and vertical C/D width ratios (p=0.005 and 0.001 respectively) than nulliparous females (n=484). This outcome remained significant after correcting for use of hormonal contraceptives, refractive error, and family history of glaucoma. There was no other significant association between optic disc parameters and female reproductive factors, including age at menarche.
We found no evidence that age at menarche was related with optic nerve parameters in this population of young females. While we found that parity is strongly associated with optic nerve parameters, this outcome should be interpreted conservatively given the small number of parous females in the current sample. It is possible that any influence of female reproductive factors on optic disc parameters will only start to manifest in greater extents when females are at an older age; this should be explored in longitudinal follow-ups of this cohort.
This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2018 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Honolulu, Hawaii, April 29 - May 3, 2018.
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