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Asian Americans face significant risk of developing glaucoma

A study published in the February issue of Ophthalmologyreveals that Asian Americans have a 6.5 percent risk of developing glaucoma. This risk is comparable to the risk for the Latino population in the United States. African Americans still have the highest risk for glaucoma at 12 percent. The National Eye Institute funded the study which involved reviewing insurance records of more than 44,000 Asian Americans 40 years and older. The study evaluated the Asian American ethnic groups most likely to develop the three main types of glaucoma. The three main types are open-angle glaucoma (OAG) which is the most common form, narrow-angle glaucoma (NAG), and normal-tension glaucoma (NTG). Asian Americans had a higher rate of developing NAG than any other racial group and the rate was highest among Chinese and Vietnamese Americans. Japanese Americans had a risk of 3 to 10 times higher of developing NTG than other Asian ethnicity and they also had the highest rate of OAG. Researchers urge physicians to be aware of this increased risk in their Asian American patients and to look for signs of the disease. They also believe that additional studies should explore the possible genetic and environmental reasons for some of the noted differences in glaucoma rates among different races and Asian ethnicities.* Elise Ervin Staff Writer

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