Prevalence of glaucoma in a rural east African population

Ralf R. Buhrmann, Harry A. Quigley, Yolanda Barron, Sheila K. West, Matthew S. Oliva, Boliface B.O. Mmbaga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE. To determine the prevalence of glaucoma in an adult population in rural central Tanzania. METHODS. Six villages were randomly selected from eligible villages in the Kongwa district, and all residents more than 40 years of age were enumerated and invited to a comprehensive eye examination including presenting visual acuity, refraction, automated 40-point Dicon (San Diego, CA) suprathreshold screening field test, Tono-Pen (Bio-Rad, Inc., Boston, MA) intraocular pressure (IOP) measurement, and standardized examination by an ophthalmologist of anterior segment, optic nerve head, and retina after pupil dilation. Gonioscopy and Glaucoma-Scope (Ophthalmic Imaging Systems, Sacramento, CA) optic disc imaging were performed on those with IOP higher than 23 mm Hg and cup-to-disc ratio (c/d) more than 0.6 and on a 20% random sample of participants. RESULTS. Of 3641 eligible persons, 3268 (90%) underwent ophthalmic examination. The prevalence of glaucoma of all types was 4.16% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 3.5, 4.9%). Primary open- angle glaucoma (OAG) was diagnosed in 3.1% (95% CI = 2.5, 3.8%), primary angle-closure glaucoma (ACG) in 0.59% (95% CI = 0.35 0.91%), and other forms of glaucoma in 0.49%. The prevalence of glaucoma was found to be sensitive to changes in the diagnostic criteria. CONCLUSIONS. The high prevalence of OAG in this group was similar to that of African-derived persons in the United States but less than in African-Caribbean populations. ACG was more prevalent in east Africans than suggested by anecdotal reports.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-48
Number of pages9
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 19 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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