Patients of Asian descent—particularly women—are most at risk for primary angle-closure glaucoma (PACG), according to a recent literature review. The study found a global prevalence of 17.1 million (0.6% of the population). Asian populations comprise just over 70% of all cases, and women are more frequently affected than men.

This meta-analysis of 37 population-based studies representing 144,354 subjects was conducted to assess demographic trends in PACG over the last 20 years and its risk factors. Men have a relative risk of 0.71, which the authors attribute to their generally deeper anterior chambers, estimated at 2.59mm for male patients and 2.39mm for women. Age-related anatomical changes (e.g., iris thickening) result in the highest prevalence among the oldest cohort, at 2.8% for those 80 years old and above in this study.

The study found 12.3 million of the 17.1 million cases affect individuals of Asian ethnicity, or about 72% of subjects. However, be mindful of heterogeneic differences within Asian populations. “The prevalence of PACG also varies in different Asian regions,” the study authors wrote in their paper. “South-central Asia was considered to have the highest overall glaucoma and primary open-angle glaucoma burden than other regions, whereas East Asia has a higher PACG prevalence.”

It is estimated that 26.2 million people will have PACG by 2050, with 18.47 million in Asia alone. Early screening is recommended for people with PACG risk factors, the authors conclude.

Zhang N, Wang J, Chen B, Li Y, Jiang B. Prevalence of primary angle closure glaucoma in the last 20 years: a meta-analysis and systematic review. Front Med. 2021;7:624179.  doi: 10.3389/fmed.2020.624179.