Background/objectives: To assess the long-term association between low-carbohydrate dietary patterns and incident primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), and POAG subtypes defined by highest untreated intraocular pressure (IOP) and by pattern of visual field (VF) loss at diagnosis. Subjects/methods: We followed 185,638 participants of three large US prospective cohorts biennially (1976–2016, 1986–2016 and 1991–2017). Deciles of three low-carbohydrate-diet scores were calculated to represent adherence to diets lower in carbohydrate and higher in protein and fat from any source, animal sources or plant sources. We confirmed POAG cases (n = 2112) by medical record review and used Cox proportional hazards models to estimate multivariable-adjusted relative risks (MVRRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Results: There was no association between the three types of low-carbohydrate-diet scores and POAG: the MVRR for POAG in the highest vs. lowest deciles was 1.13 (95% CI, 0.91–1.39; Ptrend = 0.40) for the overall score; 1.10 (95% CI, 0.89–1.35; Ptrend = 0.38) for the animal score and 0.96 (95% CI, 0.79–1.18; Ptrend = 0.88) for the vegetable score. No differential associations by IOP level was found (Pheterogeneity ≥ 0.06). However, the vegetable score showed a suggestive inverse association with early paracentral VF loss (highest vs. lowest decile MVRR = 0.78 [95% CI, 0.55–1.10]; Ptrend = 0.12) but not with peripheral VF loss only (MVRR = 1.09 [95% CI, 0.83–1.44]; Ptrend = 0.14; Pheterogeneity = 0.03). Conclusions: Low-carbohydrate diets were not associated with risk of POAG. Our data suggested that higher consumption of fat and protein from vegetable sources substituting for carbohydrates was associated with lower risk of the POAG subtype with initial paracentral VF loss.
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