Objective: Acquired pit-like changes of the optic nerve head (APON) are characteristic of glaucomatous damage and may be a sign of a localized susceptibility of the optic nerve. Thus, it is possible that biomechanical properties of the ocular tissues may play a pressure-independent role in the pathogenesis of glaucoma. Corneal hysteresis (CH) appears to provide information of the biomechanical properties of the ocular hull tissues. The purpose of this study was to compare CH of patients with primary open angle glaucoma (POAG) with and without APON.
Methods: A prospective case control study was done. POAG patients with and without APON were measured using the Ocular Response Analyzer by masked investigators. Patients in both groups were matched for sex, age, corneal thickness, and type of glaucoma according to maximal IOP (NTG or POAG). Statistical analysis was done using ANOVA.
Results: Corneal hysteresis of 16 glaucomatous eyes with APON and 32 controls (glaucoma without APON) was measured. The mean (+/-SD) CH in the APON group was 8.89 (+/-1.53) and 10.2 (+/-1.05) in the control group. The difference is statistically significant (p=0.005).
Conclusions: Corneal hysteresis in POAG patients with APON was significantly lower than in patients that did not have such structural changes of the optic disc. These findings may reflect pressure-independent mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of such glaucomatous optic nerve changes.