If men want to look professional or formal, wearing a suit and tie is the only option. These items are a staple in every hard-working man’s closet. It often conveys a sense of professionalism and maturity to others and perhaps even promotes a status of wealth. However, according to a study, your suit and tie may be working against you. Wearing a necktie may be damaging your eye health, leading to an increased risk of glaucoma.

Glaucoma is a progressive condition. Over time, pressure builds up in the eyes and leads to optic nerve damage. Intraocular pressure—pressure within the eye—damages the cranial nerve responsible for sending the images you see to the brain. When this nerve becomes damaged, it can lead to significant sight impairment or even blindness in just a few years.

Wearing tight neckties and shirts with constricting collars can impede blood flow through neck veins and arteries and may affect vision. In a 2003 study of 40 men, half with glaucoma, three minutes with a tightened tie raised eye pressure among the majority of those with and without the disease. Elevated eye pressure is a key element of diagnosing and monitoring glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness.

The lead researcher, Dr. Robert Ritch, a glaucoma specialist at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, maintained in the study in the British Journal of Ophthalmology that the transient rise in pressure readings “could affect the diagnosis and management of glaucoma.” But several prominent glaucoma specialists said the study failed to establish that transient high pressure from the tightened ties could cause glaucoma.

One of the most troubling aspects of glaucoma is that, in its initial phase, it may not present with any symptoms. It isn’t until you start to notice problems with your vision that glaucoma cases are diagnosed. It is recommended that those over 40 who have a family history of glaucoma have a complete eye exam every one-to-two years. This is especially important if you suffer from a health condition like diabetes, as it can also affect eye health.

The researchers wanted to see the effect a tight necktie would have on intraocular pressure. They gathered 40 male subjects, 20 of which were normal and the other 20 had open-angle glaucoma. Their measurements involved assessing intraocular pressure with an open collar. They measured three minutes after putting on a necktie and three minutes after loosening said neck tie.

Latest non-invasive glaucoma diagnostic technologies such as Diaton tonometer allows a quick and painless intraocular pressure testing, which should be an integral part of every health screening and wellness program.

diaton tonometer tonometry through eyelidMany top Executive Health and Wellness Programs have already implemented a practice to screen for glaucoma, starting with intraocular pressure testing (tonometry) and following with comprehensive eye exams.

Keep it loose

Sixty percent of glaucoma patients had increased pressure after the neckties were tightened for three minutes. Seventy percent of healthy patients also experienced increased pressure.

They found that when neckties were tightened for three minutes, intraocular pressure significantly increased in 60 percent of glaucoma patients and 70 percent in healthy ones. No increases were observed when participants opened their collars or loosened their ties for three minutes.

“No one says you have to strangle yourself. If you can’t get your finger in between your neck and your collar easily, it’s too tight,” says study author Robert Ritch, chief of glaucoma services and surgeon director at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary.

While no correlation can be made saying neckties cause glaucoma, those who are at an increased risk for the eye condition should not wear them at all. Frequent and prolonged use of neckwear could become a real threat to vision.

How to measure intraocular pressure through the eyelid with non-contact, translpapebral tonometer:

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