African Americans have a greater prevalence of open angle glaucoma (OAG) and exposure to traffic-related air pollution (TRAP). We investigated whether glaucomatous vascular changes were related to exposure of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter < 2.5 µm (PM2.5) in the African American Eye Disease Study (AFEDS).
The AFEDS is a cross-sectional, population-based cohort study conducted from 2014–2018 of 6,347 self-reported African Americans aged 40 years or older residing in 32 US census tracts of Inglewood, California.
African Americans endure a disproportionate burden of visual impairment. Vision quality of life was characterized by daily tasks and emotional well-being. Field loss had the greatest impact on completing daily visual tasks. A meaningful change in visual task was associated with 6 dB lower visual field. Preventing visual field loss is important for preserving vision quality of life.
I presented 3 papers to my committee while defending my dissertation in epidemiology. I proposed the first two projects in clinical epidemiology of visual impairment during my [Qualifying Exam](https://domgrisafe.com/talk/quals-vfl-vsqol-multiethnic-lac/) the previous fall. I identified a novel project in the environmental epidemiology of air pollution and primary open angle glaucomatous pathology.
As people lose their vision, they may be unable to complete normal daily tasks and they may feel unwell. This study suggests that people are affected after only a small amount of vision loss. Study participants who lost part of their vision had the most difficulty with driving and lower mental health. They reported they had difficulty driving both at night and during the day. People reported they were more worried about their eyesight and felt frustrated, had less control, and worried of embarrassing themselves due to their vision. These findings apply to a multiethnic, US population because a large number of Latinos, Chinese Americans, and African Americans participated in this study.
For the qualifying exam, I presented my dissertation on how visual impairment affects quality of life in multiethnic cohorts from Los Angeles. A committee of medical professors questioned the methodology, interpretation, and implications of the research. I concluded by proposing future projects for the dissertation.