Visual impairment and the major ocular conditions that lead to visual impairment continue to be a significant public health burden in middle-aged and older Americans. While several large, well-designed, population based ocular disease studies of US whites, blacks, and Latinos have been conducted, there is almost no information on the prevalence, risk factors, and genetic determinants in Asian Americans-one of the fastest growing racial groups in the US. There are known to be significant racial/ethnic variations in the burden of eye disease, and studies from East Asia suggest that Asians have a spectrum of eye diseases different from that of whites, African Americans, and Latinos. Because the largest Asian subgroup in the US is that of Chinese descent, in this proposed study we will determine cause-specific rates of blindness, visual impairment, and ocular disease (including cataract) in Chinese Americans aged 50 years and older. In addition, we will measure the degree to which biometric, inflammatory, and microvascular risk factors are associated with eye disease. Finally, we will examine genetic determinants of AMD and Glaucoma in this racial/ethnic group. All Chinese American residents living in the nine census tracts in Monterey Park, California, aged 50 years and older, will be invited to undergo an interview and a comprehensive eye examination, including measurement of visual acuity, visual field, intraocular pressure, hemoglobin A1c, blood glucose, and serum C-reactive protein;additional tests will include optical coherence tomography of the anterior chamber angle, ultrasonic measurement of the anterior chamber depth and lens thickness, and imaging of the fundus and optic nerve. The standardized study design and methodology will allow us to compare our data in Chinese Americans with previously obtained estimates in whites, African Americans, and Latinos. These data will improve our understanding of the biology of these age-related eye diseases. Our findings will help in planning preventive, rehabilitative, and eye care services. These findings are also likely to be of increasing public health importance, as the societal burden of age-related eye disease will likely increase with the aging of this rapidly growing segment of the US population.
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