Background: The prevalence of angle-closure glaucoma (ACG) is greater for Eskimos/Inuit than it is for any other ethnic group in the world. Although it has been suggested that this prevalence may be due to a population tendency toward shallower anterior chamber angles, available evidence for other populations such as Chinese with high rates of ACG has not consistently demonstrated such a tendency. Methods: A reticule, slit-lamp, and standard Goldmann one-mirror goniolens were used to make measurements in the anterior chamber (AC) angle according to a previously reported protocol for biometric gonioscopy (BG) (Ophthalmology 1999;106:2161-7). Measurements were made in all four quadrants of one eye among 133 phakic Alaskan Eskimos aged 40 years and older. Automatic refraction, dilated examination of the anterior segment and optic nerve, and A-scan measurements of AC depth, lens thickness, and axial length were also carried out for all subjects. Results: Both central and peripheral AC measurements for the Eskimo subjects were significantly lower than those previously reported by us for Chinese, blacks, and whites under the identical protocol. Eskimos also seemed to have somewhat more hyperopia. There were no differences in biometric measurements between men and women in this Eskimo population. Angle measurements by BG seemed to decline more rapidly over life among Eskimos and Chinese than blacks of whites. Although there was a significant apparent decrease in AC depth, increase in lens thickness, and increase in hyperopia with age among Eskimos, all of these trends seemed to reverse in the seventh decade and beyond. Conclusions: Eskimos do seem to have shallower ACs than do other racial groups. Measurements of the AC angle seem to decline more rapidly over life among Eskimos than among blacks or whites, a phenomenon also observed by us among Chinese, another group with high ACG prevalence. This apparent more rapid decline may be due to a cohort effect with higher prevalence of myopia and resulting wider angles among younger Eskimos and Chinese.
ASJC Scopus subject areas