Author(s): Papastathopoulos KI, Jonas JB
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Abstract AIM: To evaluate whether focal narrowing of retinal arterioles increases with progressive glaucomatous optic neuropathy. METHODS: Focal narrowing of retinal arterioles and area of neuroretinal rim were morphometrically evaluated on colour stereo optic disc photographs of 59 patients with primary open angle glaucoma, 22 patients with normal pressure glaucoma, 11 patients with secondary open angle glaucoma, and 31 patients with ocular hypertension. Minimum follow up was 8 months. Focal arteriolar narrowing was quantified by calculating the ratio of the vessel width in the broadest to the narrowest vessel part. RESULTS: In the subgroup of patients with progressive glaucomatous optic nerve damage (n = 37), focal narrowing of retinal arterioles increased significantly (p < 0.005) with decreasing neuroretinal rim area. In the subgroup of patients with stable appearance of the optic disc (n = 86), focal narrowing of retinal arterioles did not change significantly (p = 0.79). The positive correlation between increasing focal thinning of retinal arterioles and progression of glaucomatous optic neuropathy was present, although not statistically significant, in all the glaucoma subtypes examined. The location of focal thinning of retinal arterioles did not change in the follow up. CONCLUSIONS: Focal narrowing of retinal arterioles increases significantly with progressive glaucomatous optic neuropathy, independent of the type of glaucoma. It is stable in patients with non-progressive glaucoma. The findings agree with previous reports on a higher degree of focal arteriole narrowing in eyes with pronounced optic nerve damage in comparison with those with moderate optic nerve atrophy or normal eyes. In the clinical management of patients with glaucoma, in some eyes, increasing focal arteriole narrowing may suggest progression of disease.
This article was published in Br J Ophthalmol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology