Objectives: To longitudinally evaluate optical coherence tomography (OCT) peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer thickness measurements and to compare these measurements across time with clinical status and automated perimetry.
Methods: Retrospective evaluation of 64 eyes (37 patients) of glaucoma suspects or patients with glaucoma participating in a prospective longitudinal study. All participants underwent comprehensive clinical assessment, visual field (VF) testing, and OCT every 6 months. Field progression was defined as a reproducible decline of at least 2 dB in VF mean deviation from baseline. Progression of OCT was defined as reproducible mean retinal nerve fiber layer thinning of at least 20 mum.
Results: Each patient had a median of 5 usable OCT scans at median follow-up of 4.7 years. The difference in the linear regression slopes of retinal nerve fiber layer thickness between glaucoma suspects and patients with glaucoma was nonsignificant for all variables; however, Kaplan-Meier survival curve analysis demonstrated a higher progression rate by OCT vs VF. Sixty-six percent of eyes were stable throughout follow-up, whereas 22% progressed by OCT alone, 9% by VF mean deviation alone, and 3% by VF and OCT.
Conclusions: A greater likelihood of glaucomatous progression was identified by OCT vs automated perimetry. This might reflect OCT hypersensitivity or true damage identified by OCT before detection by conventional methods.