Long term use of birth control pills may cause blindness
Many women think that birth control pills as an easy measure to prevent pregnancy. However, many health risks are associated with the same. It has been seen that women who use the birth control pills for more than 3 to 4 years have more risk of blindness in life. This new addition is joining the family of side effects like mood swings, weight gain and spotting. When a woman reaches her menopause, the estrogen levels reduce and these levels contribute the risk of glaucoma. The birth control pills add up to this problem because these pills lower the estrogen levels and one can be at a high risk.
Glaucoma starts to put up pressure in the eye. Due to this, the optic nerve of the eye can get damaged and the results can be ‘clouding effect’ that leads to blindness. Estrogen is a hormone that is present in the birth control pill and is said to be the leading reason for the glaucoma. Researchers from some of the renowned Universities like University of California, San Francisco, researchers at Duke and Third affiliated Hospital of Nanchang University in China have found an association with the birth control pills and the development of glaucoma. The study included women who were above 40 years of age. Doctors interviewed them and some interesting facts were found. Women, who used birth control pill for three years, were twice likely to develop glaucoma.
Before this research was done, the birth control pills were the most efficient and affordable contraceptive for women all over the world. In the United States out of the entire population, 27.5% women choose to take the birth pill. They will have the risk of developing glaucoma in their later years. Glaucoma is the main and leading cause of blindness in the United States and it has affected more than 60 million people in the world. After this conclusion, doctors are asking all the gynecologists and ophthalmologists to recommend regular screenings to specially those women who are taking birth control pills.
Scientists have proved that birth pills can cause Glaucoma but there are other factors that are the family history of the same disease, short sight, diabetes, black African ancestors and feeling pressure in the eye. There are four types of glaucoma. The common one is the chronic open angle glaucoma that develops slowly. Another one is primary closed angle which is very rarely found but develops very quickly and can cause vision loss in one or both eyes. The angle here we are talking about is the place between the cornea and the iris. The closed angle glaucoma is very painful and needs medical help before the actual damage starts. Open angle glaucoma develops very slowly and patients do not need medical help till it has progressed. Secondary Glaucoma can happen when there is an injury or a trauma to the eye. Congenital Glaucoma is caused by a defect from your birth and is very rare but can develop in the later stages.
Regular screenings of women may slow the development of glaucoma or even cure it. The precautions taken in time can also save your vision.