Objective: It has been suggested that some patients currently diagnosed with ocular hypertension (OHT) may have thicker than average corneas that result in an overestimation of their true intraocular pressure. Consequently, patients with OHT with greater corneal thickness may be at a lower risk for functional glaucomatous damage, including visual field loss measured with frequency doubling technology (FDT) perimetry. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the frequency of FDT perimetry deficits in patients with OHT and to correlate these findings with central corneal thickness (CCT) measurements.
Design: Observational case control study.
Participants and controls: Sixty-five patients with OHT with normal optic discs and normal standard achromatic automated perimetry (SAP) visual fields and 52 normal control subjects.
Methods: All participants underwent SAP, FDT perimetry, and CCT measurements using ultrasound pachymetry.
Main outcome measures: CCT measurements in patients with OHT with abnormal repeatable FDT test results were compared with CCT measurements in patients with OHT with normal FDT results. In addition, CCT measurements in patients with OHT were compared with CCT measurements in normal control subjects.
Results: Fourteen of 65 patients with OHT (21.5%) demonstrated repeatable FDT abnormalities. The mean CCT of patients with OHT with abnormal FDT results was significantly lower than the mean CCT of patients with OHT with normal FDT results (542+/-35 microm versus 575+/-35 microm; P = 0.003). The mean CCT in the normal control group was 556+/-36 microm. The mean CCT in patients with OHT with normal FDT results was significantly higher than in normal subjects (P = 0.008). No statistically significant difference was found between mean CCT in normal subjects and in patients with OHT with abnormal FDT results (P = 0.18).
Conclusions: Patients currently diagnosed with OHT, but with visual field loss detected by FDT perimetry, had significantly lower CCT measurements than patients with OHT with normal FDT results. These findings suggest that patients with OHT with thinner corneas are more likely to develop early glaucomatous functional damage and that CCT measurements should be taken into account when assessing risk for the development of glaucoma among OHT subjects.