Tight Ties Tied To Glaucoma Risk

September 24, 2003


Glaucoma refers to a group of disorders that all cause increased pressure within the eyeball. In a normal eye, a liquid called the aqueous humor is continuously produced and drained. In glaucoma, aqueous humor builds up and increases pressure within the eye. Such increased pressure can damage the optic nerve directly or restrict blood flow, thus damaging the optic nerve indirectly. This damage may lead to blind spots in the visual field. If left untreated, glaucoma can cause permanent blindness.

Circulation of Aqueous Humor

Image modified from the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health

Pressure Increase!

Research published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology (August, 2003) shows that tight neckties raise pressure within the eye. This increased intraocular pressure may put people at risk for developing glaucoma.

The researchers measured intraocular pressure (IOP) of 20 normal subjects and 20 people who had glaucoma. IOP was measured at three times during the experiment:

  1. Before a necktie was worn
  2. Three minutes after a necktie was tightened "to the point of slight discomfort"
  3. Three minutes after the necktie was loosened.
The IOP in 14 out of 20 (70%) normal subjects increased significantly after the necktie was tightened. Similar increases were observed in 12 out of 20 (60%) people with glaucoma. IOP pressure returned to normal levels after neckties were loosened.

Loosen Up?

The researchers speculate that tight neckties constrict the jugular vein. This constriction may raise blood pressure within the eye and cause an increase in IOP. The increased IOP may put tight necktie wearers at risk for developing glaucoma. The researchers also warn that wearing a tight necktie during an eye examination could result in a false diagnosis of glaucoma.

Reference and further information:

  1. Teng, C., Gurses-Ozden, R., Liebmann, J.M., Tello, C. and Ritch, R. Effect of a tight necktie on intraocular pressure. British Journal of Ophthalmology, 87:946-948, 2003.
  2. Common Eye Diseases and Disorders - from Neuroscience for Kids

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