Primary angle closure glaucoma in Chinese and Western populations

Chin Med J (Engl). 2002 Nov;115(11):1706-15.


Objective: To review the major progress in primary angle closure glaucoma (PACG).

Methods: Contents of this article were selected from the original papers or reviews related to primary angle closure glaucoma published in Chinese and foreign journals. A total of 76 articles were selected from several hundred original articles or reviews. The content of selected articles is in accordance with our purpose and the authors are authorized scientists in the study of glaucoma.

Results: Primary angle closure glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma in the Sino-Mongoloid population. PACG in Chinese can be classified into three types depending on the mechanism of angle closure: 1. Multimechanism: 54.8% of Chinese PACG is caused by co-existing factors. The pattern of angle closure appears to mainly be creeping closure. After iridectomy, almost 40% of the cases still manifest a positive response to the darkroom provocative test and progressive synechial closure or recurrent angle closure may occur. Several mechanisms are involved in this form of PACG such as pupillary blocking component, iris crowding component and anterior positioned ciliary body. These factors can coexist in the follow patterns: pupillary blocking and iris crowding coexist; pupillary blocking and anterior positioned ciliary body coexist or three of them co-exist. 2. Pupillary block: (38.1% of Chinese PACG) is caused by iris bombe due to pupillary block with acute or subacute attack. It responds well to iridectomy or laser iridotomy. 3. Non-pupillary blocking: (7.8% of Chinese PACG). They usually have a deeper anterior chamber, and tend to be younger (below 40 years of age). Angle closure in this form of PACG is caused by: iris crowding mechanism or/and anteriorly positioned ciliary body against iris root to angle. It is critical to distinguish multi-mechanism PACG from other types. The initial treatment for this type of PACG is also iridectomy, but after the pupillary block component is eliminated by iridectomy, the residual non-pupillary blocking components should be highlighted by a diagnostic treatment procedure or by a ultrasound biomicroscopy (UBM) provocative test. Finally, the role of UBM in the observation and evaluation of the mechanism of angle closure is discussed and future research directions on PACG in Asians are proposed.

Conclusion: Chinese eyes have been recognized to be prone to the development of creeping angle closure. There is some direct evidence that creeping angle closure is caused by multiple mechanisms. Further study on this topic is needed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Asian People
  • China
  • Glaucoma, Angle-Closure / diagnosis
  • Glaucoma, Angle-Closure / ethnology
  • Glaucoma, Angle-Closure / etiology*
  • Humans