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Ophthalmology. 1998 Apr;105(4):733-9.

The prevalence of glaucoma in the Melbourne Visual Impairment Project.

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Department of Ophthalmology, University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.



The purpose of the study was to determine the prevalence of glaucoma in Melbourne, Australia.


All subjects were participants in the Melbourne Visual Impairment Project (Melbourne VIP), a population-based prevalence study of eye disease that included residential and nursing home populations. Each participant underwent a standardized eye examination, which included a Humphrey Visual Field test, applanation tonometry, fundus examination including fundal photographs, and a medical history interview. Glaucoma status was determined by a masked assessment and consensus adjudication of visual fields, optic disc photographs, intraocular pressure, and glaucoma history.


A total of 3271 persons (83% response rate) participated in the residential Melbourne VIP. The overall prevalence rate of definite primary open-angle glaucoma in the residential population was 1.7% (95% confidence limits = 1.21, 2.21). Of these, 50% had not been diagnosed previously. Only two persons (0.1%) had primary angle-closure glaucoma and six persons (0.2%) had secondary glaucoma. The prevalence of glaucoma increased steadily with age from 0.1% at ages 40 to 49 years to 9.7% in persons aged 80 to 89 years. There was no relationship with gender. The authors examined 403 (90.2% response rate) nursing home residents. The age standardized rate for this component was 2.36% (95% confidence limits = 0, 4.88).


The rate of glaucoma in Melbourne rises significantly with age. With only half of patients being diagnosed, glaucoma is a major eye health problem and will become increasingly important as the population ages.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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