OBJECTIVE The purpose of this study is to comprehensively explore the risk factors of primary open angle glaucoma (POAG) in China. METHODS Two groups of data based on distinct resources were analyzed to explore the risk factors of POAG. One group of data was based on hospital records between 1995 and 2000 which composed of 107 patients with POAG and 149 controls without POAG. The other group of data was based on 40 patients with POAG and 120 matched controls without POAG. The former was designed by non-matched case control study, the latter was done by 1:3 matched case control study. The relationships between POAG and the factors such as age, sex, family history, diabetes, hypertension, intraocular pressure (IOP), cardiovascular diseases, smoking, drinking and mutation of TIGR gene were studied by logistic regression analysis. RESULTS The simple factor analysis showed that the risk of POAG was related to age, family history, hypertension, IOP, cardiovascular diseases, smoking, drinking and the mutation of TIGR gene (T353I). However, logistic regression analysis confirmed that POAG mainly related to IOP, family history, hypertension, smoking, alcohol intake and the mutation of TIGR gene. CONCLUSION The most important risk factor of POAG was IOP. Family history, hypertension, smoking and the mutation of TIGR gene were also important risk factors of POAG. However, alcohol intake was a protective factor for POAG.