Black patients have a dramatically higher risk of advanced vision loss after a new diagnosis of primary open angle glaucoma (POAG) when compared to white patients, according to a new study from New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai (NYEE).
The work, published July 25 in Translational Vision Science and Technology, shows that being of African heritage is an independent risk factor for this drastic decline in vision, and should prompt more eye screening in this population for early glaucoma detection. This is the first study to use an artificial intelligence algorithm to break down visual field loss in new-onset glaucoma cases among United States-based population groups.
The work is important because glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in the United States and primary open angle glaucoma is the most common type. POAG is the leading cause of optic nerve degeneration that is related to the pressure level inside the eye, but other factors also contribute to this condition. Patients typically experience few or no symptoms until the disease progresses and they have irreversible vision loss—underscoring the need for early glaucoma screening and detection in high-risk patient groups.
Senior author Louis R. Pasquale, MD, FARVO, deputy chairman for Ophthalmology Research at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and director of the NYEE Eye and Vision Research Institute, pointed out that the study has far-reaching impacts.