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Purpose: To determine prevalence and associated factors of ocular hypertension in the adult Chinese population.

Methods: The Beijing Eye Study, a population-based prevalence study, included 4439 subjects out of 5324 subjects with an age of 40 years invited to participate (response rate 83.4%). From the 4439 individuals, 4224 (95.2%) subjects fulfilled the inclusion criteria of the present study, that is, available readable optic disc photographs, a nonglaucomatous appearance of the optic disc, and a normal visual field in the case of an intraocular pressure higher than 21 mm Hg. The participants underwent an interview, a detailed ophthalmic examination, blood pressure measurements, and examination of blood samples. Ocular hypertension was defined as an intraocular pressure higher than 21 mm Hg with a normal appearance of the optic nerve head and no defects in frequency doubling perimetry.

Results: Ocular hypertension was detected in 299 (3.6%) eyes (prevalence rate: 3.63% /-0.21%) of 160 (3.8%) subjects (prevalence rate: 3.79% /-0.29%). In multiple regression analysis, ocular hypertension was significantly associated with serum levels of cholesterol [P=0.006; odds ratio (OR): 1.34; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.09-1.64], presence of diabetes mellitus (P=0.03; OR: 1.45; 95% CI: 1.04-2.07) and arterial hypertension (P<0.001; OR: 3.18; 95% CI: 1.86-5.43). Ocular hypertension was not significantly associated with age, sex, urban or rural region, refractive error, anterior chamber depth, optic disc area, and area of [beta] zone of parapapillary atrophy.

Conclusions: Ocular hypertension has a frequency of about 3.6% in the adult Chinese population with an age of 40 years. Associated factors are diabetes mellitus, arterial hypertension, and elevated serum cholesterol levels. Diabetes mellitus, arterial hypertension, and elevated serum cholesterol concentrations should be checked in ocular hypertensive subjects.

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