Glaucoma is fast emerging as a major cause of blindness in India. In order to estimate the prevalence of primary open angle glaucoma (POAG) and primary angle closure glaucoma (PACG) in an urban South Indian population, we examined 972 individuals aged 30-60 years, chosen using a cluster sampling technique from 12 census blocks of Vellore town. They underwent a complete ocular examination, including applanation tonometry and gonioscopy, at the Medical College Hospital. Characteristic field defects on automated perimetry was a diagnostic requisite for POAG. Prevalence (95% CI) of POAG, PACG, and ocular hypertension were 4.1 (0.08-8.1), 43.2 (30.14-56.3), and 30.8 (19.8-41.9) per 1,000, respectively. All the PACG cases detected were of the chronic type. Hitherto unavailable community-based information on primary glaucoma in our study population indicates that PACG is about five times as common as POAG.