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, 47 (2), 158-73

Identification of Progressive Glaucomatous Visual Field Loss


Identification of Progressive Glaucomatous Visual Field Loss

Paul G D Spry et al. Surv Ophthalmol.


In normal individuals, visual field measures are not perfectly repeatable and individual test locations exhibit both short- and long-term sensitivity variations. This physiologic variability is greatly increased in glaucoma and confounds detection of real progressive loss in visual function. Distinguishing progressive glaucomatous visual field loss from test variability therefore represents a complex task. Procedures used for detection of glaucomatous visual field progression may be broadly grouped into four categories: 1) clinical judgment, which consists of simple subjective observation of sequential visual field test results; 2) defect classification systems, whereby specific criteria are used to stratify field loss by discrete score and define progression as score change over time, such as the Advanced Glaucoma Intervention Study scoring system; 3) trend analyses, which follow test parameters sequentially over time to determine the magnitude and significance of patterns within the data, for example linear regression; and 4) event analyses, which identify single events of significant change relative to a reference examination. All of these methods demonstrate distinct benefits and drawbacks, making each useful in specific circumstances, although no single method appears universally ideal. At the present time the best method of detection of progression may be to rely upon confirmation of change at successive examinations and also by correlation of visual field changes with other clinical observations. Alternative analysis methods may become available in the near future to help identify cases of progressive loss.

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