A study of retrobulbar circulation in patients with open-angle glaucoma (OAG) has found differences suggesting lower blood flow as a possible reason for greater disease severity and faster progression in patients of African descent.
Ethnic differences in blood flow. Researchers from Indiana University reported that significantly lower blood flow values were identified in all retrobulbar blood vessels in OAG patients of African descent compared with those of European descent, despite similar IOP and visual field parameters between the groups.1
Color Doppler ultrasound revealed lower mean values among patients of African descent in:
- Peak systolic velocity of blood in the ophthalmic, central retinal, and nasal and temporal short posterior ciliary arteries
- End diastolic velocity in the central retinal artery
Further research is needed to determine what role these differences might play in glaucoma progression.
Focus on the person first. Meanwhile, regardless of ancestry, OAG patients should be treated foremost as individuals, “each with a unique set of risk profiles to consider,” said the study’s senior author, Alon Harris, MS, PhD, FARVO. Dr. Harris is professor of ophthalmology and cellular and integrative physiology, director of clinical ophthalmic research, and Letzer Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology at Indiana University School of Medicine.
“Look beyond their eye and see if you can consider their whole health and personal profile. A ‘sick body’ elevates the risk of a ‘sick eye’ and vice versa, while a ‘healthy body’ may help maintain a ‘healthy eye,” Dr. Harris said.
1 Siesky B et al. J Glaucoma. 2015;24(2):117-121.
Dr. Harris has received lecture fees from Alcon and MSD; is a consultant for Biolight, Isarna Therapeutics, Merck, Nanoretina, ONO Pharmaceuticals, Pharmalight, and Sucampo; and has equity interest in Adom and Oxymap.
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