Studies Investigate Hemifield Damage, Race in Glaucoma

Damage to both hemifields linked to progression; racial heritage linked to baseline differences

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Individuals with glaucoma may have faster disease progression if they have initial damage to both hemifields, and people of African ancestry with and without glaucoma showed significant ocular differences compared to their counterparts of European descent, according to the results of two studies in the September Archives of Ophthalmology.

Carlos Gustavo V. De Moraes, M.D., of the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary in New York City, and colleagues analyzed data from 205 glaucomatous eyes (from 205 patients) who were followed for a mean 6.5 years. Patients with both hemifields affected progressed faster than those with just an initial superior or inferior defect. Higher baseline intraocular pressure and thinner central corneal thickness were associated with risk of progression.

Pamela A. Sample, Ph.D., of the University of California San Diego in La Jolla, and colleagues analyzed data from 1,657 subjects of European or African descent who were free of glaucoma or had suspected or confirmed glaucoma. Subjects of African descent, regardless of diagnostic group, had thinner corneas and were more likely to report diabetes and high blood pressure, and had poorer pattern standard deviation for standard automated perimetry fields, both overall and within normal limits.

"The findings from the African Descent and Glaucoma Evaluation Study will have direct impact on the management of glaucoma in this at-risk minority population, providing the clinician with critical information currently not known or well understood, especially as it relates to the newer and innovative methods for measuring visual function, optic nerve and retinal nerve fiber layer structure, and progression of the disease," Sample and colleagues conclude.

In the second study, Alcon Laboratories Inc., Allergan, Pfizer Inc., Merck Inc., and Santen Inc. provided glaucoma medications to the subjects at no charge.

Abstract - De Moraes
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Abstract - Sample
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