Eye Diseases in Puerto Rico

Andrés Emmanuelli, Natalio J. Izquierdo, William Townsend


Objective. To report on the major causes of eye diseases leading to visual impairment and blindness in a sub-urban population in Puerto Rico. Design. A population-based study of eye diseases in Puerto Ricans living in the San Juan metropolitan area of Puerto Rico. Participants. Nine thousand two hundred ninetyeight patients aged from 40 to 79 years-of-age from the San Juan metropolitan area. Methods. A chart review of 9,298 patients was done. Patients carrying diagnosis such as cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), and diabetic retinopathy were evaluated. Descriptive statistics and chi square analysis were used to evaluate findings. Results. 2,056 patients out of 9,298 had cataracts (22.1%); 3,963 patients (42.6%) had glaucoma; 199 patients had ARMD (2.1%); and 700 patients (7.5%) had diabetic retinopathy. The prevalence of cataracts was higher in the population study than in the Hispanic population of the Los Angeles Latino Eye Study (LALES) (p < 0.001). The prevalence of glaucoma was higher in our patients than in Hispanic population studied by the LALES (p < 0.0001). The prevalence of ARMD and the prevalence of diabetic retinopathy was lower than expected when compared to Hispanic population of LALES study (p < 0.0001 in both instances). Conclusions. In this population-based study, the prevalence of cataracts and glaucoma was higher than the results found in the Hispanic populations reported in the LALES. However, in our study, we found a lower prevalence of ARMD and diabetic retinopathy. Various factors may lead to this significant difference in the prevalence of eye diseases between the PR population and Hispanic population in the continental USA. Further studies are needed to evaluate the prevalence of eye diseases in Puerto Rico.

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