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Andrew J. Feola, Joseph M. Sherwood, Machelle T. Pardue, Darryl R. Overby, C. Ross Ethier; Age and Menopause Effects on Ocular Compliance and Aqueous Outflow. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2020;61(5):16. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.61.5.16.
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Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide. Recent work suggests that estrogen and the timing of menopause play a role in modulating the risk of developing glaucoma. Menopause is known to cause modest changes in intraocular pressure; yet, whether this change is mediated through the outflow pathway remains unknown. Menopause also affects tissue biomechanical properties throughout the body; however, the impact of menopause on ocular biomechanical properties is not well characterized.
Here, we simultaneously assessed the impact of menopause on aqueous outflow facility and ocular compliance, as a measure of corneoscleral shell biomechanics. We used young (3–4 months old) and middle-aged (9–10 months old) Brown Norway rats. Menopause was induced by ovariectomy (OVX), and control animals underwent sham surgery, resulting in the following groups: young sham (n = 5), young OVX (n = 6), middle-aged sham (n = 5), and middle-aged OVX (n = 5). Eight weeks postoperatively, we measured outflow facility and ocular compliance.
Menopause resulted in a 34% decrease in outflow facility and a 19% increase in ocular compliance (P = 0.011) in OVX animals compared with sham controls (P = 0.019).
These observations reveal that menopause affects several key physiological factors known to be associated with glaucoma, suggesting that menopause may contribute to an increased risk of glaucoma in women.
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