Exposure to cats and cockroaches may increase the risk of glaucoma…(study in the American Journal of Ophthalmology).
What is glaucoma? It is an eye disease which can damage the optic nerve which can lead to blindness. Glaucoma develops when the aqueous fluid in the eyeball cannot drain properly causing pressure to build up in the eye. It is believe that 27 million Americans have glaucoma (src: National Eye Institute).
A study of 1,678 people by researchers at the University of California found that people with glaucoma had higher levels of an allergic antibody to cats and cockroaches compared to people who did not have glaucoma.
The people involved in the study were in their 50s and 60s and 5.1% had glaucoma. They were tested for allergies to dogs, cats, cockroaches, dust mites and rodents.
Of the about 5% who had glaucoma, around 14% had elevated allergic antibodies to cat allergens. Six percent of the subjects had elevated levels of allergic antibodies to dog allergens. It is thought that dogs may help prevent the disease.
It is believed the antibodies to cat and cockroach allergens target the optic nerve.
Antibodies (immunoglobin – Ig) are used by the immune system to identify and neutralise bacteria and viruses in the body. It seems that glaucoma may be linked to the immune system.
Associated: Feline Allergen.
Comment? I don’t really have much to say about this. It seems the research is at an early stage. More work is needed. The feline allergen is a major issue for many people who want to look after a cat and its presence is perverse and annoying because it is a source of criticism of the domestic cat.