People in the United Kingdom who have less income are more likely to suffer from glaucoma, researchers say.
Since the national healthcare system provides most care at little or no charge, socioeconomic status must interact with patients’ health in some other way, say the researchers from the United Kingdom, Singapore and Australia.
The article appeared August 28 in the journal Eye (http://www.nature.com/eye/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/eye2015157a.html).
Although previous studies have shown a correlation between a high glaucoma prevalence and low socioeconomic status, this is the first study to show that glaucoma prevalence decreases across the spectrum as income rises, the researchers write.
The researchers analyzed data from UK Biobank which tracks 502,656 participants between 40 and 69 years of age. Adequate information on visual acuity, autorefraction, keratometry, interaocular pressure, and corneal biomechanics were available on a subset of 112,690.
Of these, 1916 (1.7%) reported a diagnosis of glaucoma. The frequency of self-reported glaucoma was significantly higher amongst Asians (2.1%) and Blacks (3.3%). However, there was no significant difference in the rate between Chinese and White participants, or between mixed and other ethnicities and White participants.
The researchers also found a correlation between annual household income and glaucoma. Rates of glaucoma were highest among those with the lowest income and decreased as income increased.