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In African-Descent Glaucoma Patients, Visual Field Changes Up

May contribute to delayed detection of progression compared to glaucoma patients of European descent

FRIDAY, Feb. 16, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Patients of African descent with glaucoma have increased visual field variability compared to those of European descent, likely contributing to delayed detection of progression, according to a study published online Feb. 15 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Carolina P.B. Gracitelli, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of California, San Diego, in La Jolla, and colleagues examined racial differences in longitudinal visual field variability in a multicenter prospective observational cohort study. Data were included for 236 eyes of 173 individuals of European descent and 235 eyes of 171 individuals of African descent. Participants were followed for a mean of 7.5 years.

The researchers found that the eyes of individuals of African descent had a larger mean standard deviation of the residuals than eyes of individuals of European descent (1.45 versus 1.12 dB). A larger increase in variability with worsening disease was seen in the eyes of individuals of African descent. There was a delay to detect progression in eyes of individuals of African descent versus those of European descent when simulations were performed assuming common progression scenarios. Detection of progression in individuals of African descent was delayed by 3.1 years for a scenario with baseline mean deviation of −10 dB and rate of change of −0.5 dB/year.

“Patients of African descent with glaucoma showed increased visual field variability compared with those of European descent, resulting in delayed detection of progression that may contribute to explain higher rates of glaucoma-related visual impairment in individuals of African descent,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and eye care industries.

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