Glaucoma Diagnosis May Increase Tinnitus Risk

Optic disc affected by glaucoma.
An individual with tinnitus is approximately 30% more likely than others to have pre-existing POAG, researchers estimate.

A pre-existing diagnosis of primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) can significantly increase a patient’s risk of developing tinnitus according to a study published in the Journal of Glaucoma. The study’s authors estimate that persons with tinnitus are approximately 30% more likely than other groups to have pre-existing POAG.

Researchers conducted a case-controlled study using data from Taiwan’s National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD). Data was collected between January 2011 to December 2016, resulting in a sample that included 542,682 patients older than 18 years old diagnosed with tinnitus and 1,628,046 controls. They estimated the odd ratios (ORs) with multiple logistic regression analysis using a 95% confidence interval to compare previously diagnosed cases of POAG in those with tinnitus and the controls.

The study shows a significant difference in the percentage of patients with tinnitus who had pre-existing POAG (4.70%) and participants without tinnitus with pre-existing POAG (3.67%) (P <.001). They also found that participants with prior POAG have an OR of 1.294 compared with the age and sex matched control participants. 

Overall, these researchers found an increased risk of tinnitus in patients with POAG. These results are consistent with results from three recent studies investigating the association between glaucoma and tinnitus. However, this study examined the association of prior POAG in patients with tinnitus, whereas the aforementioned studies examined the presence of tinnitus in patients diagnosed with glaucoma. 

The strengths of this study include the use of a data source that encompasses the entire population of Taiwan and allowed for follow-up data, use of propensity score matching to minimize bias, and the accounting for comorbid risk factors. This study is limited by missing severity of POAG in NHIRD data and the inability to generalize this data because >95% of the Taiwanese population is of Han-Chinese ethnicity. 


Kuang T-M, Xirasagar S, Cheng Y-F, Kuo N-W, Lin H-C. Association of primary open-angle glaucoma with tinnitus: A nationwide population-based study. J Glaucoma. 2022;31(4):224-227. doi:10.1097/ijg.0000000000002001