IMPORTANCE: Differences in ocular anatomy may contribute to ethnic differences in glaucoma risk. Because the trabecular meshwork (TM) plays an important role in aqueous outflow, its anatomy in relation to at-risk populations may provide insight into a potential contributor to elevated intraocular pressure and thus to probability of glaucoma development. OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether differences exist in TM height between ethnic groups. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This prospective study took place from January 1, 2012, to December 31, 2013. Adult patients who self-reported as being of white, Asian, Hispanic, or African American ethnicity were recruited from ophthalmology clinics at the University of California, San Francisco. The TM height was assessed using spectral-domain anterior segment optical coherence tomography. MAINOUTCOMES ANDMEASURES: Trabecular meshwork height was measured from the scleral spur to the Schwalbe line. We hypothesized that ethnicities with a higher prevalence of glaucoma would tend tohave shorter TM heights. RESULTS: We collected data from 460 eyes of 291 participants after excluding 34 optical coherence tomographic scans owing to poor image quality. The final sample was 32.2% white, 45.1% Asian, 10.5% African American, and 12.1% Hispanic. There were 64.2% women, and the mean age was 68.1 years. The mean (SD)TM height among all eyes included in the study was 836 (131) μm. The mean (SD) TM height was characterized among white (851  μm), Asian (843  μm), Hispanic (822  μm), and African American (771  μm) persons. Ethnicity was not associated with TM height overall (P =.23, linear mixed regression model). However, the TM heights of African American participants (771 μm) were shorter than those of white (851 μm; adjusted difference 95% CI, -119.8 to -8.1; P =.02) and Asian (843 μm; adjusted difference 95% CI, -117.4 to -10.8; P =.02) participants. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Although TM height is not associated with ethnicity overall, African American individuals have shorter TM heights compared with Asian and white persons. Trabecular meshwork size may play a role in ethnic differences of glaucoma risk and be a new risk factor to consider in primary open-angle glaucoma.
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