GLAUCOMA: Blacks Less Likely to Undergo Surgery
Blacks are half as likely as whites to undergo surgery for glaucoma, although the disease is four times more prevalent in black Americans, according to a study published in this month's issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology, the AP/Baltimore Sun reports. Researchers at the University of California-Los Angeles analyzed Medicare claims for glaucoma surgery for 30,495 blacks and 160,792 whites over the age of 65 between 1991 and 1994. Similar research conducted on claims from the late 1980s to 1991 found a racial disparity in glaucoma surgery. While the new research finds that the gap is narrowing, researchers said that the disparity is still cause for concern. Researchers suggested that the gap in glaucoma surgery could be the result of a lack in access to care, inadequate education about the disease, overtreatment among whites and racial bias. Nearly 3 million Americans suffer from glaucoma, the second leading cause of blindness. The federal government provides more than $1 billion annually in aid for blind glaucoma patients (2/15).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.