Study: Latino sector at high risk for visual impairment

September 1, 2004

Los Angeles-A 5-year, multipart study of Latino eye health shows that open-angle glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy pose significant risks to this population.

Los Angeles-A 5-year, multipart study of Latino eye health shows that open-angle glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy pose significant risks to this population.

The National Institutes of Health-sponsored Los Angeles Latino Eye Study, which included mostly California residents of Mexican descent, tracked the causes of blindness and access to eye care among 6,300 Latino men and women over age 40. Participants were screened for eye disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

The study found nearly 25% of participants had diabetes, and 20% of those were newly diagnosed by study researchers. Some 50% of those with diabetes also had diabetic retinopathy. Nearly 5% had open-angle glaucoma, about the same rate as African Americans, and nearly 4% had ocular hypertension.

"This research has provided much-needed data on eye disease among the fastest-growing minority group in the United States," explained NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, MD.

A detailed report of this study will appear in an upcoming issue of Ophthalmology Times.