The Los Angeles Latino Eye Study (LALES) is a major research project in Los Angeles County, California, designed to gain a greater understanding of the prevalence and incidence of eye disease among Latinos. Because so little is known about the visual health needs of this segment of the population, the data collected from this study will be instrumental in determining the prevalence of cataract, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy among Latinos in this community. The study will also determine the proportion of blindness and visual impairment that is caused by these diseases and will explore the association of various risk factors, such as smoking or sun exposure, with ocular disease.

The original LALES cohort was comprised of Latinos 40 years of age or older in and around the city of La Puente in Los Angeles County (n=6635). The participants were identified through ascertainment of households in six census tracts in La Puente. They were then contacted by the field team for an interview, which took place in the participant’s home. The eye exam was scheduled at a local screening center at one of six census tracts which was closest to the participant’s residence. The baseline examination phase was conducted from March 2000 through June 2003. The follow-up examinations for the LALES study began in July 2004 and ended in June 2008. The Ocular Epidemiology Research Group’s role in this study has been to grade the film photos for signs of macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and other ocular diseases.