Purpose: To evaluate the effects of chronic reduction of intraocular pressure (IOP) on ocular hemodynamics.
Methods: Multisite, prospective evaluation of patients requiring trabeculectomy for treatment of glaucoma. Patients were recruited from the glaucoma service of 2 university hospitals. Patients were evaluated prior to surgery and at 3, 6, and 12 months after trabeculectomy. Color Doppler imaging was used to measure blood flow in the ophthalmic artery, central retinal artery, and short posterior ciliary arteries. Heidelberg retinal flowmetry was used to evaluate perfusion in the peripapillary and optic disc capillary beds. IOP was measured at baseline and at each study visit.
Results: There were highly significant reductions in IOP from presurgical baseline measures. At 3 months, mean IOP reduction was 17.1 mm Hg (62.3%; P < .001). At the 6- and 12-month evaluations, the mean IOP reductions were 15.7 mm Hg (57.3%) and 15.5 mm Hg (56.5%), respectively, P < .001. Despite the significant reduction in IOP, there were no significant differences in any ocular blood flow parameters before and after trabeculectomy.
Conclusions: The findings of this study suggest that chronic reduction of IOP does not alter ocular blood flow and that IOP may be an independent risk factor for progression of glaucoma. These findings also suggest that the eye has the ability to autoregulate to chronically increased IOP over time and that additional studies evaluating the long-term effects of IOP changes are needed to further define this relationship.