Black race was associated with greater odds of having glaucoma and severe glaucoma. Photo: Getty Images.

An analysis of the IRIS Registry provided further confirmation that Black individuals are at greater risk for developing primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), particularly severe disease. The study, presented in a poster session last Sunday at this year’s ARVO meeting in New Orleans, urged early screening and education for this population.

Of the more than 59 million patients enrolled in the IRIS Registry between 2015 and 2020, 6.2% had POAG and 1.3% had severe POAG. Black individuals had the highest prevalence of POAG and severe POAG for all ages and race groups. 

Black patients older than 60 years had the highest POAG and severe POAG prevalence rates (18.7% and 5.8%, respectively), and the second highest rates were in Black patients aged 41 to 60 (12% and 3%, respectively).

Rates among white patients older than 60 were 8.3% and 1.7% in POAG and severe POAG, respectively. Black patients aged 21 to 40 were 4.3- and 6.4-times more likely to have POAG or severe POAG compared with white patients of the same ages.

“The IRIS Registry highlights a significantly greater risk of developing POAG and severe POAG, especially in the 21 to 40 and 41 to 60 age groups in Blacks compared with whites,” the researchers explained in their abstract. “Analyses of genetic contributions, as well as the effects of ‘weathering’ (health effects of stress/discrimination), may provide further insight. Glaucoma screening and education of persons of Black or African American descent should begin in early adulthood.”

Original abstract content © Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology 2023.

Kolomeyer NN, Tomaiuolo M, Pasquale LR, et al. Race and age-based prevalence patterns of glaucoma in the IRIS Registry (Intelligent Research In Sight). ARVO 2023 annual meeting.