Latinos with Myopia at Increased Risk for Glaucoma

LOS ANGELES–According to a study published in the September issue of Ophthalmology, Latinos with myopia are at a significantly increased risk for open angle glaucoma, the most common form of the disease. In open angle glaucoma, the drainage angle in the eye becomes clogged, leading to increased intraocular pressure, which in turn damages the optic nerve. Glaucoma results in serious vision loss and eventual blindness, and shows few signs and no symptoms before vision loss occurs. Therefore, identifying at-risk populations for glaucoma is crucial, because it allows more and better screening to detect the condition before vision loss occurs.

The results come from the Los Angeles Latino Eye Study (LALES). For this portion of the LALES 5927 Latinos aged 40 and older were studied. The results showed that Latinos with myopia were 1.82 times more likely to have open-angle glaucoma than those with no refractive error. Controlling for age showed that the relative risk remained for all age groups. It also showed that longer axial length (the distance from the front of the eye to the back) and flatter corneas were correlated with an increased glaucoma risk, although not as strongly as myopia (relative risk 1.25 and 1.21 respectively).

This study adds additional people to the list of those who should be extra-vigilant about glaucoma screening. Previously identified at-risk populations for glaucoma include:

  • African-Americans (starting as young as age 40) and Hispanics (starting at age 60)
  • Persons over 60
  • Persons with a family history of glaucoma
  • Persons who have used steroids

If you are a member of any of these groups, you should make sure to visit your eye doctor regularly and be screened for glaucoma. If you do not have an eye doctor, use our find a doctor page to locate one near you.