Glaucoma and Neckties: Too Soon to Tell If There Is a Meaningful Connection
A California mayor's proposal to bar workplace necktie requirements has some science behind it. But a glaucoma diagnosis isn’t an automatic excuse to ditch your necktie. The research being cited was about the effect of tight neckties on blood flow in the brain – not glaucoma, specifically.
Rex Parris, mayor of Lancaster, Calif., is calling for neckties to be optional within the city, according to the Los Angeles Times. The mayor asked city staff to find out whether it would be possible to ban employers from requiring neckties in the workplace.
Is There a Necktie-Glaucoma Link?
But Andrew G. Iwach, MD, an ophthalmologist and glaucoma specialist in San Francisco, Calif., cautions that it’s too early to make any general recommendations regarding glaucoma from the new study. Dr. Iwach said, “This early research is interesting but until we get longer-term, controlled studies, talk to your ophthalmologist to make choices for your own life.” Dr. Iwach was not involved with the Neuroradiology study.
People with glaucoma and those at increased risk for glaucoma should talk to their ophthalmologist about their activities and health goals. Your doctor can warn you about anything that can make glaucoma worse — such as chronically increased intraocular pressure. But until there is direct research about the effect of neckties on glaucoma, there is no one-size-fits-all guidance for the public.
“We don’t treat means or averages, we treat individuals,” said Dr. Iwach. Different risk factors have different levels of importance for individuals. An ophthalmologist can balance your overall health with your goals and activities to make the recommendation that’s right for you.
And your ophthalmologist can help you separate this week’s news hype from the proven facts. Regular vision screenings and early diagnosis provide the best options for effective glaucoma care.