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Familial Glaucoma Strikes Earlier and Harder

Study underscores importance of screening patients with a family history of glaucoma

TUESDAY, July 11 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with primary open-angle glaucoma, those with a family history of the disease tend to have a younger age of onset and increased disease severity compared to those with sporadic disease, according to a study published in the July issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

Johnny Wu, M.B.B.S., of the University of Tasmania in Hobart, Australia, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study of 1,700 primary open-angle glaucoma patients.

The researchers found that 1,012 (59.5 percent) of the patients had familial primary open-angle glaucoma. They report that the familial group had a younger mean age than the sporadic group (70.6 versus 72.6 years), a significantly younger mean age at diagnosis (61.4 versus 64) and significantly elevated Glaucoma Inheritance Study in Tasmania (GIST) severity scores.

"This finding underscores the importance of further understanding the genetics of primary open-angle glaucoma," the authors conclude. "The nature of appropriate screening strategies for individuals with and without a family history of primary open-angle glaucoma requires further study. Targeted screening strategies for primary open-angle glaucoma should take the importance of family history into account."

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