Results of previous studies have strongly indicated that the prevalence of elevated intraocular pressure is greater in blacks than in whites and that blacks are more susceptible than whites to glaucomatous damage at any given level of pressure. It has also been suggested that a larger disc area might predispose an eye to glaucomatous damage. We investigated the possibility that clinically quantifiable differences might exist in optic disc parameters between normotensive white and black patients. Disc area, cup-to-disc ratio, and cup volume measured with a video-ophthalmograph (Rodenstock Optic Disc Analyzer) were significantly larger in blacks than in whites, while there was no difference in the disc rim area between the two groups. We derived a mathematical model of the optic disc that relates posterior displacement of the lamina cribrosa to the disc area, distensibility of the disc, and intraocular pressure.