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Apr 04 2008

The Prevalence of Open-angle Glaucoma Among Blacks and Whites 73 Years and Older

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In its examination of the occurrence of open-angle glaucoma in individuals over the age of 73, this fourth round of the Salisbury Eye Evaluation Glaucoma Study discovered that the prevalence of glaucoma increased significantly for those 75 years and older compared to those 73-74 years old. However, there was no increasing prevalence for individuals older than 75. For white individuals, the prevalence of open-angle glaucoma for those aged 73-74 was 3.4%, compared to 9.4% for those 75 and older. For black individuals, the prevalence of open-angle glaucoma for those 73-74 years old was 5.7% versus 23.2% for those 75 and older. These findings suggest the benefit and necessity of screening programs for individuals of this age.

Research Design/Procedures: The study included 1,233 individuals aged 73 and older. Each participant had multiple eye exams performed by either an ophthalmologist or an optometrist. If glaucoma was suspected in one or more of these exams, the participant was referred for a follow-up examination, which included a glaucoma history questionnaire, VF testing, optic nerve head imaging, and intraocular pressure (IOP) measurements. All of the individuals with abnormalities in the follow-up examination were referred to a glaucoma specialist. Glaucoma was defined by consensus of two glaucoma-trained ophthalmologists who independently reviewed all data collected. A study participant was determined to have glaucoma if there was a definitive or probable glaucoma diagnosis in either eye.

Caveats: This round of the evaluation did not include original participants who are now nursing home residents (who generally have more eye disease than their self-sufficient peers). Inclusion of these original study participants may have increased the incidence of OAG in those over 75 years of age. The number of black individuals examined was significantly smaller than that of white individuals, making conclusions about the significance of race difficult to garner from this study.

Citation: Friedman, David S., MD, MPH; Henry D. Jampel, MD; Beatriz Muñoz, MS; and Sheila K. West, PhD. “The Prevalence of Open-angle Glaucoma Among Blacks and Whites 73 years and Older.” Arch Ophthalmol. 2006; 124:1625-1630.