Purpose: The GDx is a scanning laser polarimeter that has been developed to allow the quantitative analysis of retinal nerve fibre layer (RNFL) thickness. The purpose of this study was to determine whether differences in the RNFL thickness between normal, ocular hypertensive and glaucomatous eyes could be detected using the GDx.
Methods: RNFL analysis was carried out using the GDx on 33 normal, 145 ocular hypertensive (OHT) and 44 glaucomatous (POAG) eyes. The inclusion criteria for entry into the study did not include the clinical appearance of the RNFL or optic disc, thus eliminating an important source of selection bias. The Kruskal-Wallis one-way analysis of variance was used to determine whether any significant differences existed among the groups in mean total and quadrantic RNFL thickness. When significant differences were found, specific inter-group analysis was carried out using the Mann-Whitney U-test.
Results: Significant differences in RNFL thickness were found for the mean total, superior and inferior quadrant values between normals and OHT eyes as compared with POAG eyes. No significant differences were found for these values between the normal and OHT eyes.
Conclusion: Analysis of RNFL thickness using the GDx was able to detect differences between POAG eyes compared with normal and OHT eyes, although there was considerable overlap between groups. Further assessment of the technique is required to determine whether it may be useful in screening for the presence of early glaucomatous damage.