An evaluation of optic disc and nerve fiber layer examinations in monitoring progression of early glaucoma damage

Ophthalmology. 1992 Jan;99(1):19-28. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(92)32018-4.


From annual examinations of 813 ocular hypertensive eyes, the authors compared optic disc and nerve fiber layer photographs in 2 age-matched subgroups: 37 eyes that converted to abnormal visual field tests at the end of a 5-year period and 37 control eyes that retained normal field tests. Disc change was detected in only 7 of 37 (19%) converters to field loss and in 1 of 37 (3%) controls. Progressive nerve fiber layer atrophy was observed in 18 of 37 (49%) converters and in 3 of 37 (8%) controls. Serial nerve fiber layer examination was more sensitive than color disc evaluation in the detection of progressive glaucoma damage at this early stage of glaucoma. The evaluation of cup-to-disc ratio or of the nerve fiber layer appearance in the initial photograph taken 5 years before field loss were equally predictive of future field damage. The position of nerve fiber layer defects was highly correlated with the location of subsequent visual field loss.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Fundus Oculi
  • Glaucoma / diagnosis
  • Glaucoma / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nerve Fibers / pathology
  • Ocular Hypertension / diagnosis
  • Optic Disk / pathology*
  • Photography / methods
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Random Allocation
  • Visual Fields