Br J Ophthalmol 96:162-166 doi:10.1136/bjo.2010.196642
  • Global issues

The prevalence of glaucoma in indigenous Australians within Central Australia: the Central Australian Ocular Health Study

  1. Jamie Craig1
  1. 1Department of Ophthalmology, Flinders Medical Centre, Adelaide, South Australia
  2. 2Department of Ophthalmology, Alice Springs Hospital, Alice Springs, Northern Territory
  1. Correspondence to Dr John Landers, Flinders Medical Centre, Flinders Drive, Bedford Park, South Australia 5042, Australia; john.landers{at}
  1. Contributors All authors made a substantial contribution to the conception and design of the project, acquisition of data, analysis and interpretation of data, drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content and final approval of the version published.

  • Accepted 20 March 2011
  • Published Online First 22 April 2011


Aims To determine the prevalence of glaucoma within the indigenous Australian population living in central Australia.

Methods 1884 individuals aged ≥20 years, living in one of 30 remote communities within the statistical local area of ‘Central Australia,’ were recruited for this study. This equated to 36% of those aged ≥20 years and 67% of those aged ≥40 years within this district. Slit-lamp examination of the anterior segment and intraocular pressure measurement, followed by stereoscopic slit-lamp funduscopy of the optic nerve, was performed. Selected patients underwent automated visual-field testing. The diagnosis of glaucoma was based on pre-existing definitions. Glaucoma prevalence data are presented.

Results Seventeen individuals had glaucoma (0.90%). Causes of secondary glaucoma were found in four with neovascular glaucoma, two with uveitic glaucoma and four who had developed glaucoma subsequent to trauma or surgery. The remaining seven had no identifiable cause for their glaucoma and were thus classified as open-angle glaucoma equating to a prevalence of 0.52% (95% CI 0.14% to 0.90%) for those aged ≥40 years. Of these, four had an intraocular pressure ≤21 mm Hg, and three had an intraocular pressure >21 mm Hg.

Conclusion The prevalence of open-angle glaucoma among indigenous Australians within central Australia was 0.52% for those aged ≥40 years. After adjustment for the age distribution of our sample, this is one-third the prevalence seen among the non-indigenous Australian population and is despite a higher prevalence of ocular parameters considered to be associated with glaucoma.


  • Funding Partial equipment grants for the study were received from the Ophthalmic Research Institute of Australia: B & L Lowe Grant and NH&MRC: Centre for Clinical Research Excellence.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by the Ethical approval from the Central Australian Human Research Ethics Committee was obtained and conformed to the tenets of the Declaration of Helsinki.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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