The purpose of the current study was to reveal the occurrence rate of glaucoma among patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). All 112 patients of four nursing homes in Upper Bavaria, Germany, who met the diagnostic criteria of probable AD, were incorporated into the study. Visual field defects and/or optic disc cupping compatible with the diagnosis of glaucoma were found in 29 out of 112 patients with AD (25.9%). When compared to a control group (5.2%) and to the prevalence of glaucoma in western countries revealed in a number of glaucoma surveys (2.6-4.7%), patients with AD may have a significantly increased occurrence rate of glaucoma. In addition, ocular hypertension with normal visual fields and normal optic nerve heads was not found in patients with AD. The prevalence of ocular hypertension in the control group was 7.8% and parallels previous surveys. Therefore, we assume that the optic nerve seems to be less resistant to elevated intraocular pressure levels in AD patients.
Copyright 2002 S. Karger AG, Basel