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Study estimates prevalence of glaucoma among Singapore Chinese

The JAMA Network Journals

A study of Chinese adults in Singapore suggests the prevalence of glaucoma, a disease of the eye that can result in blindness, was 3.2 percent, with no difference from a previous study conducted in 1997, according to a study published online by JAMA Ophthalmology.

Singapore has a diverse population consisting of three major ethnicities, of which the Chinese predominate. Glaucoma is a major public health challenge in an aging population and a previous study reported the prevalence and risk factors of glaucoma in the Singapore Chinese in 1997.

Tin Aung, Ph.D., F.R.C.Ophth., of the Singapore National Eye Centre, and coauthors looked at prevalence and risk factors among Singapore Chinese to compare the results with those of the earlier study. The authors selected 3,353 Chinese adults (average age, 59.7 years old, and 50.4 percent women) from the southwestern part of Singapore who were examined at a single tertiary care research institute from 2009 through 2011.

The authors report that of the 3,353 participants, 134 (4 percent) had glaucoma, including primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) in 57 (1.7 percent), primary angle-closure glaucoma (PACG) in 49 (1.5 percent) and secondary glaucoma in 28 (0.8 percent). Of the 134 patients with glaucoma, 114 (85.1 percent) were unaware of their diagnosis, according to the results.

The study found the prevalence (age-standardized) of glaucoma was 3.2 percent; 1.4 percent for POAG; and 1.2 percent for PACG. The prevalence of blindness caused by secondary glaucoma was 14.3 percent, followed by 10.2 percent for PACG and 8.8 percent for POAG, the study found.

"We report a high proportion of previously undiagnosed disease, suggesting the need to increase public awareness of this potentially blinding condition," the study concludes.


(JAMA Ophthalmology. Published online May 14, 2015. doi:10.1001/jamaopthalmol.2015.1110. Available pre-embargo to the media at

Editor's Note: This study was supported by the National Medical Research Council and National Research Foundation, Singapore. Please see article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

Media Advisory: To contact corresponding author Tin Aung, Ph.D., F.R.C.Ophth., email

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