Purpose: To evaluate the possibility for detecting the progression in preperimetric primary open angle glaucoma (POAG) using scanning laser polarimetry (SLP), frequency-doubling technology (FDT), and conventional automated perimetry (AP).
Patients and methods: 22 eyes of 11 preperimetric POAG patients were evaluated using SLP (Nerve Fiber Analyzer, GDx), AP (Humphrey 24-2 threshold test) and FDT (30 degrees threshold test). All eyes had intraocular pressure (IOP) higher than 21 mmHg before treatment, but were consistently lower than 22 mm Hg with unchanged topical medication before and during the study. At the initial evaluation session optic nerve heads showed mild glaucomatous changes but the visual fields were normal (MD better than 2.0 dB, Glaucoma Hemifield Test: within normal limits or borderline). AP and FDT measurements were repeated 6 months later, and all three tests were repeated 12 months after the first investigation.
Results: IOP, AP and FDT measurements showed no statistically significant changes during the 12-month follow up period. In contrast to this, a tendency for a glaucomatous type decrease was seen with SLP in the retinal nerve fibre layer (RNFL) thickness parameters (mean superior and inferior sector thickness values, ellipse average thickness and maximal modulation). The mean decrease of RNFL thickness in the superior and inferior sectors was 2.77 microm and 2.48 microm, respectively. Using the two-way nested ANOVA, which considers the relation between the right and left eyes of the subjects, the decrease was statistically significant (p=0.021) for the inferior sector RNFL thickness.
Conclusion: The results suggest that scanning laser polarimetry is a useful technique to detect and measure glaucomatous progression in early glaucoma. Scanning laser polarimetry of the RNFL may help to detect and quantify early progression even if worsening is not seen with perimetry and FDT tests.