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The prevalence of glaucoma among 45-year-old New Zealanders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Aqeeda Singh, Jesse Gale, Kirsten Cheyne, Antony Ambler, Richie Poulton, Graham Wilson

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-42
Number of pages8
JournalNew Zealand Medical Journal
Issue number1553
Published14 Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: We thank the Dunedin Study members, their families and friends for their long-term involvement, and Study Founder, Dr Phil A Silva. The Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Research Unit is based at University of Otago within the Ngāi Tahu tribal area whom we acknowledge as first peoples, tangata whenua (people of this land). This research received support from the NZ Health Research Council Programme Grant (16–604). The Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Research Unit is additionally supported by the New Zealand Health Research Council and the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment. AS received direct support from the Gordon Sanderson Scholarship from Glaucoma New Zealand. The funding sources had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication. Publisher Copyright: © 2022 New Zealand Medical Association. All rights reserved.

King's Authors


aim: We aimed to estimate the prevalence of glaucoma in New Zealand using a population-based birth cohort of 45-year-olds. methods: Study members of the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health & Development Study participated (n=938 out of 1037 births (91%)). The data collected included visual acuity, visual field (VF), refraction, central corneal thickness, intraocular pressure (IOP), axial length, spectral domain optical coherence tomography (OCT), and non-mydriatic fundus photographs. Two ophthalmologists reviewed data independently to generate a consensus glaucoma status: "Normal" if no suspicion of glaucoma; "Ocular hypertension" if IOP >21 mmHg; "Glaucoma suspect" if optic disc photograph was suspicious for glaucoma with no more than borderline or non-corresponding VF or OCT abnormalities; and "Glaucoma" if optic disc photograph was suspicious for glaucoma and there were corresponding abnormalities of the OCT or VF. results: Of 891 participants with sufficient data to assign a glaucoma status, 804 were "Normal" (90.2% [CI 88.3- 92.2]), 15 were "Ocular hypertension" (1.68% [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.84-2.5]), 65 were "Glaucoma suspect" (7.30% [95% CI 5.6-9.0]), and 7 were classified as "Glaucoma" (0.79% [95% CI 0.21-1.4]). An additional 73 participants (8.2%, [95% CI 6.3%-10%]) had abnormalities on the OCT scan but were not deemed to be glaucoma suspects. conclusion: The prevalence of glaucoma in New Zealand is between 0.2% and 1.4%, consistent with other population-based studies in the same age group. The study highlights the sensitivity of OCT and the potential for misinterpretation and over-investigation.

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