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Extended birth control could double the risk of glaucoma. (Stock image)
A new study released at the American Association of Ophthalmology meeting suggests women who take birth control for more than three years have double the risk of glaucoma, .

The study reviewed data from the CDC s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, .

Overall, more than 3,000 women over the age of 40 completed vision and reproductive health surveys as well as eye exams.

Glaucoma, the leading cause of blindness in the United States, damages the optic nerve, . Scientists have linked the disease to a decrease in estrogen during menopause, which could reveal how birth control is related since it also causes lower estrogen levels.

The study's researchers from California-San Francisco, Duke University and Third Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang University feel women who have taken birth control for an extended period should be screened closely for glaucoma, especially if they have a higher risk due to family history, increased eye pressure or race.

"At this point, women who have taken oral contraceptives for three or more years should be screened for glaucoma and followed closely by an ophthalmologist, especially if they have any other existing risk factors," , a professor of clinical ophthalmology at the University of California San Francisco.

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