Purpose: There is evidence that altered optic nerve head (ONH) blood flow may play a role in the development and progression of glaucoma. In the present study, the baseline characteristics were examined in a study population participating in a clinical trial in which the ocular hemodynamic effects of timolol and dorzolamide were compared.
Methods: One hundred forty patients with primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) or ocular hypertension (OHT) were included in this trial and their baseline parameters compared with those of a group of 102 age-matched control subjects. Scanning laser Doppler flowmetry was used to measure blood flow in the temporal neuroretinal rim and the cup of the ONH. Pulsatile choroidal blood flow was assessed by laser interferometric measurement of fundus pulsation amplitude. In addition, hemodynamic parameters and mean arterial pressure were calculated in both groups.
Results: All ocular hemodynamic parameters were significantly lower in the POAG/OHT group compared with the healthy control group (P < 0.001 each). In addition, a significant positive correlation between laser Doppler flowmetry readings and mean arterial pressure was observed in patients with glaucoma but not in healthy control subjects. Likewise, the correlation coefficient between fundus pulsation amplitude and mean arterial pressure was higher in patients with glaucoma than in healthy control subjects.
Conclusions: The present study indicates reduced ONH and choroidal blood flow and an abnormal association between blood pressure and ocular perfusion in patients with primary open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension, independent of topical antiglaucoma medication. Hence, vascular dysregulation appears to be an early manifestation in glaucoma that is not caused by pharmacologic intervention.