Purpose: To quantify the progression of visual field loss in participants with open angle glaucoma.
Methods: Cluster random samples of 3271 participants participated in this study. Each participant underwent a standardized ophthalmic examination, which included intraocular pressure measurement, Humphrey 24-2 Fastpac visual field testing and stereophotography of the optic disc. At baseline 118 participants were identified as possible, probable or definite open angle glaucoma and 74 (62.7%) of these were seen again at the follow-up examination. Progression of visual field loss was defined using three methods: the Advanced Glaucoma Intervention Study criteria, the modified Anderson criteria and the Blumenthal method.
Results: In total, 49% of subjects showed progressive visual field loss with at least one method. The Blumenthal criteria yielded the highest rate of progression (37%), followed by the modified Anderson method (33%) and the Advanced Glaucoma Intervention Study method (16%). The progressive visual field loss was associated with baseline glaucoma status (P = 0.02); 65% of the definite glaucoma progressed, compared with 57% of the probable glaucoma and 25% of the possible glaucoma. Participants who had been previously diagnosed with glaucoma had a higher rate of progression (54%) when compared with those who had not been diagnosed previously (47%). In total, 50% (four of eight) of those receiving glaucoma medication at baseline had progressive visual field loss; all were in the definite glaucoma category.
Conclusion: Despite use of glaucoma medications the majority of glaucoma patients managed by their regular ophthalmologist experienced progressive visual field loss over a 5-year period.