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February 1998

Racial Categorization in the Barbados Eye Study—Reply

Arch Ophthalmol. 1998;116(2):259-260. doi:

In reply

We are pleased to note Dr McLeod's interest in our recent article.1 The accurate definition and interpretation of racial categories is a very common topic in epidemiological research. While this is a general issue for population studies, Dr McLeod may not be aware that the racial categorization in the Barbados Eye Study is well supported by data on blood group distribution and on pigmentation gradings, as previously reported.2 Furthermore, the Barbados population originated in west Africa3 and was not influenced notably by the immigration mentioned by Dr McLeod. Although this influence is quite marked for other islands in the West Indies, such as Trinidad, generalizations to the entire Caribbean region should not be made, as the population composition varies considerably among the islands.