Asian Americans study too much.
- From: "PeterL" <po.ning@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: 6 Apr 2007 14:35:54 -0700
Or maybe it has to do with playing too much video games.
Young and middle-aged Americans of Chinese descent are prone to a new
eye syndrome that ophthalmologists are often mistaking for blinding
glaucoma, researchers warn.
Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine, in California,
tracked 16 people for seven years and observed more than 100 others.
They concluded that there's a new eye syndrome occurring in the young
Chinese population in the United States.
Fortunately, this new syndrome may be less likely than typical
glaucoma to cause severe vision loss or blindness, the authors said.
They published their findings in the March issue of Ophthalmology.
Glaucoma results from damage to the optic nerve, which transmits
information from the eye to the brain. It's believed that the optic
nerve damage is caused by high eye pressure. Glaucoma is the second
leading cause of blindness in the world, affecting one in 200 people
over the age of 50.
The Stanford researchers said that many young Chinese patients
diagnosed with glaucoma have normal eye pressure. They suspect that
the optic nerve damage is actually caused by stretching of the eye
associated with nearsightedness, which rarely gets worse after age 30,
meaning optic nerve damage may slow or stabilize.
This means that doctors need to carefully assess young Chinese
patients with suspected glaucoma and not rush into aggressive
treatment, such as surgery.
"If they don't appear to be progressing toward blindness right now,
they shouldn't be treated as if they have a blinding condition,
especially since surgery is associated with significant risks," Dr.
Kuldev Singh, professor of ophthalmology, said in a prepared
He noted that other researchers have reported an increase in
nearsightedness among people of Chinese ancestry.
Singh and his colleagues are currently surveying young people of
Chinese ancestry at Stanford. Their preliminary findings show a high
prevalence of optic nerve damage.
"The next step is to learn more about the natural history and genetics
of this condition and see whether there are subsets of the population
more prone to it," Singh said.
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