Profiles of Obesity, Weight Gain, and Quality of Life in Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (Pseudotumor Cerebri)

Anthony B. Daniels, Grant T. Liu, Nicholas J. Volpe, Steven L. Galetta, Mark L. Moster, Nancy J. Newman, Valerie Biousse, Andrew G. Lee, Michael Wall, Randy Kardon, Marie D. Acierno, James J. Corbett, Maureen G. Maguire, Laura J. Balcer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

225 Scopus citations


Purpose: Obesity and weight gain are known risk factors for idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH; or pseudotumor cerebri). The authors examined profiles of body mass index (BMI) and patterns of weight gain associated with IIH. They also examined vision-specific health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in newly diagnosed IIH patients and explored the relative contribution of obesity and weight gain to overall HRQOL in this disorder. Design: Matched case-control study. Methods: Female patients with newly diagnosed IIH (n = 34) and other neuro-ophthalmologic disorders (n = 41) were enrolled in a case-control study to assess patterns of self-reported weight gain. The HRQOL was examined using the 25-Item National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire (NEI-VFQ-25) and the SF-36 Health Survey (Physical Components Summary and Mental Components Summary [MCS]). Results: Higher BMIs were associated with greater risk of IIH (P = .003, logistic regression analysis adjusting for case-control matching), as were higher percentages of weight gain during the year before symptom onset (P = .004). Moderate weight gain (5% to 15%) was associated with a greater risk of IIH among both obese and nonobese patients. Obesity and weight gain influenced the relation between HRQOL and IIH only for subscale scores reflecting mental health (SF-36 MCS). The NEI-VFQ-25 and SF-36 subscale scores were lower in IIH compared with other neuro-ophthalmologic disorders and published norms. Conclusions: Higher levels of weight gain and BMI are associated with greater risk of IIH. Even nonobese patients (BMI <30) are at greater risk for IIH in the setting of moderate weight gain. Vision-specific and overall HRQOL are affected to a greater extent in IIH than in other neuro-ophthalmologic disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)635-641.e1
JournalAmerican Journal of Ophthalmology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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