Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Glaucoma Risks in Asians

Researchers from the Kellogg Eye Center of the University of Michigan reported on the incidence of Glaucoma in Asians in a study published in the journal Ophthalmology (March 2011). Racial-ethnicity risk rates help people and doctors plan for eye care and take extra precautions if appropriate. Since Asian Americans are the second fastest growing population in the U.S., a trend likely to continue for years to come, such risk information is very useful and helpful.

Of the various racial groups in the United States it is generally known that African Americans have the highest risk for Glaucoma of about 12% percent. The rate of Narrow Angle Glaucoma (NAG) was higher in Asian Americans than in any other racial group in the study and highest of all among Chinese and Vietnamese Americans. With NAG, the part of the eye that drains excess fluid becomes blocked and pressure builds up in the eye; the patient usually feels severe, rapid-onset pain and needs immediate treatment to prevent vision damage. The risk of Normal Tension Glaucoma (NTG) was three to 10 times higher in Japanese Americans than other Asian ethnicities studied.With NTG, the optic nerve and vision sustain damage even though the pressure within the eye remains within "normal" levels. Among Asian Americans, Open Angle Glaucoma (OAG) rates were highest among Japanese Americans (about 9.5 percent), followed by Indian and Pakistani Americans (about 7.7 percent).

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