Longitudinal changes in the visual field and optic disc in glaucoma

Prog Retin Eye Res. 2005 May;24(3):333-54. doi: 10.1016/j.preteyeres.2004.10.002. Epub 2005 Jan 24.


The nature and mode of functional and structural progression in open-angle glaucoma is a subject of considerable debate in the literature. While there is a traditionally held viewpoint that optic disc and/or nerve fibre layer changes precede visual field changes, there is surprisingly little published evidence from well-controlled prospective studies in this area, specifically with modern perimetric and imaging techniques. In this paper, we report on clinical data from both glaucoma patients and normal controls collected prospectively over several years, to address the relationship between visual field and optic disc changes in glaucoma using standard automated perimetry (SAP), high-pass resolution perimetry (HRP) and confocal scanning laser tomography (CSLT). We use several methods of analysis of longitudinal data and describe a new technique called "evidence of change" analysis which facilitates comparison between different tests. We demonstrate that current clinical indicators of visual function (SAP and HRP) and measures of optic disc structure (CSLT) provide largely independent measures of progression. We discuss the reasons for these findings as well as several methodological issues that pose challenges to elucidating the true structure-function relationship in glaucoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Automation
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Disease Progression
  • Glaucoma / pathology*
  • Glaucoma / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Middle Aged
  • Optic Disk / pathology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Survival Analysis
  • Time Factors
  • Visual Field Tests / methods
  • Visual Fields*