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PurposeTo examine the associations of alcohol consumption with glaucoma and related traits, to assess whether a genetic predisposition to glaucoma modified these associations, and to perform Mendelian randomization (MR) experiments to probe causal effects.DesignCross-sectional observational and gene-environment interaction analyses in the UK Biobank. Two-sample MR experiments using summary statistics from large genetic consortia.ParticipantsUK Biobank participants with data on intraocular pressure (IOP) (n = 109 097), OCT-derived macular inner retinal layer thickness measures (n = 46 236) and glaucoma status (n = 173 407).MethodsParticipants were categorized according to self-reported drinking behaviors. Quantitative estimates of alcohol intake were derived from touchscreen questionnaires and food composition tables. We performed a 2-step analysis, first comparing categories of alcohol consumption (never, infrequent, regular, and former drinkers) before assessing for a dose-response effect in regular drinkers only. Multivariable linear, logistic, and restricted cubic spline regression, adjusted for key sociodemographic, medical, anthropometric, and lifestyle factors, were used to examine associations. We assessed whether any association was modified by a multitrait glaucoma polygenic risk score. The inverse-variance weighted method was used for the main MR analyses.Main outcome measuresIntraocular pressure, macular retinal nerve fiber layer (mRNFL) thickness, macular ganglion cell-inner plexiform layer (mGCIPL) thickness, and prevalent glaucoma.ResultsCompared with infrequent drinkers, regular drinkers had higher IOP (+0.17 mmHg; P interaction < 0.001). Mendelian randomization analyses provided evidence for a causal association with mGCIPL thickness.ConclusionsAlcohol intake was consistently and adversely associated with glaucoma and related traits, and at levels below current United Kingdom (< 112 g/week) and United States (women, < 98 g/week; men, < 196 g/week) guidelines. Although we cannot infer causality definitively, these results will be of interest to people with or at risk of glaucoma and their advising physicians.Financial disclosure(s)Proprietary or commercial disclosure may be found after the references.

Original publication




Journal article


Ophthalmology. Glaucoma

Publication Date



NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, London, United Kingdom. Electronic address:


Modifiable Risk Factors for Glaucoma Collaboration, the UK Biobank Eye and Vision Consortium, and the International Glaucoma Genetics Consortium, Members of the Modifiable Risk Factors for Glaucoma Collaboration, Members of the UK Biobank Eye and Vision Consortium, Members of the International Glaucoma Genetics Consortium