Background/Aims This study aimed to describe the cohort profile of the Northern Ireland Cohort for the Longitudinal Study of Ageing (NICOLA) and to report the prevalence of, awareness of and associations with glaucoma.
Methods Using geographic stratification, a representative sample of non-institutionalised Northern Irish adults aged over 50 years was invited to participate. NICOLA participants underwent a Computer-Assisted Personal Interview (CAPI), a Self-Completion Questionnaire (SCQ) and a health assessment. The CAPI and SCQ collected comprehensive sociodemographic and health-related data. At the health assessment, participants underwent optic disc stereophotography, intraocular pressure (IOP) measurement using ocular response analyser (ORA), autorefraction, spectral domain optical coherence tomography and self-reported history of glaucoma. We invited NICOLA participants suspected of having glaucoma due to optic disc appearance or raised IOP for clinical examination by a glaucoma expert and perimetry. Epidemiological definitions by the International Society Geographical and Epidemiological Ophthalmology were used to define glaucoma.
Results Of 3221 NICOLA participants (mean age 64.4, SD 8.5, female sex 51.7%) who attended the health assessment component of the NICOLA study (and had a vertical cup to disc ratio measurement in at least one eye), 91 participants had glaucoma. Overall, the crude prevalence of glaucoma was 2.83% (95% CI 2.31% to 3.46%) and 67% of affected individuals did not give a self-reported history of glaucoma.
Conclusions The prevalence of glaucoma in Northern Ireland is comparable with other population-based studies of European populations. Approximately two-thirds of people with glaucoma were undiagnosed.
- intraocular pressure
- optic nerve
- diagnostic tests/investigation
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Contributors PMcC: acquisition, design, analysis, interpretation of data, drafting the work, final approval. RH: conception, design, acquisition, analysis, interpretation of data, drafting the work, final approval. DMW: analysis, interpretation of data, final approval. SP-B: analysis, drafting the work, final approval. UC: conception, interpretation of data, drafting the work, final approval. TP: conception, interpretation of data, drafting the work, final approval. SC: design, analysis, drafting the work, final approval. BM: design, analysis, drafting the work, final approval. ISY: conception, design, interpretation of data, drafting the work, final approval. FK: conception, design, interpretation of data, drafting the work, final approval. AA-B: conception, analysis, interpretation of data, drafting the work, final approval.
Funding Atlantic Philanthropies, ESRC, HSC Research and Development, OFMDFM, UKCRC and Queen’s University Belfast provide core financial support for NICOLA. Belfast Association for the Blind provided core financial support for clinical assessment of participants with possible glaucoma. The sponsors and funding organisations had no role in the design or conduct of this research. The sponsor or funding organisation had no role in the design or conduct of this research. No conflicting relationship exists for any author.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Ethics approval This study was conducted according to the tenets of the Declaration of Helsinki. Ethical approval was obtained from the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences Ethics Committee, Queen’s University Belfast and the Northern Ireland’s Health and Social Care (HSC) Research Ethics Committee A (REC A) (REC reference: 16/NI/0247).
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data availability statement Data are available on reasonable request. Data are available on reasonable request.
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