Primary open-angle glaucoma vs normal-tension glaucoma: the vascular perspective

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Abstract

Objective: To compare and contrast the presence of ocular and systemic vascular function in newly diagnosed and previously untreated primary open angle glaucoma (POAG) and normal tension glaucoma (NTG) patients with comparable, early stage, functional loss.
Methods: The systemic vascular function of 19 POAG patients, 19 NTG patients and 20 healthy controls was assessed by means of 24 hour ambulatory blood pressure (ABPM), peripheral pulse wave analysis (PWA) and carotid intima-media thickness (IMT). Retinal vascular reactivity to flicker light was assessed using dynamic retinal vessel analysis (DVA,IMEDOS, GmbH, Jena, Germany).
Results: When compared to normal controls, both POAG and NTG patients exhibited similarly increased nocturnal systemic blood pressure variability (p=0.011); peripheral arterial stiffness (p=0.015), carotid IMT (p=0.040) and reduced ocular perfusion pressure (OPP) (p<0.001). Furthermore, on DVA analysis, both groups of glaucoma patients also exhibited steeper retinal arterial constriction slopes (slope AC) following cessation of flicker (p=0.007) and a similarly increased fluctuation in arterial and venous baseline diameter (p=0.008 and p=0.009 respectively) in comparison to controls.
Conclusion: POAG and NTG patients exhibit similar alterations in both ocular and systemic circulation at the early stages of their disease process. This highlights not only the importance of considering vascular risk factors in both conditions, but also raises questions about the current separation of the two conditions into completely distinct clinical entities.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-43
Number of pages8
JournalJAMA Ophthalmology
Volume131
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013

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