Purpose: The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of glaucomatous optic nerve atrophy among a working population in Germany by secondary evaluation of a study conducted to estimate the prevalence of retinal microangiopathic abnormalities by telemedical examination of the retina.
Patients and methods: From August 2002 until January 2004 the retina and optic nerve head were examined in 19,294 Caucasians using a non-mydriatic fundus camera (Kowa, nonmyd-alpha 45), which produces colour images with 45 degrees. The images of the retina and optic nerve head were evaluated telemedically by glaucoma specialists in respect to optic nerve pathologies and microangiopathic abnormalities by a standardised procedure. Glaucomatous optic nerve atrophy was diagnosed when specific glaucomatous morphological alterations of the optic nerve head were present. A complete medical history including reported elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) and blood pressure was obtained.
Results: The intra-observer and inter-observer reliability were 0.884 and 0.740, respectively. Cronbach's alpha for two evaluation cycles each of two observers was 0.870. The prevalences of glaucomatous optic nerve atrophy in the different age groups were 0.07 % (45 - 49 years), 0.40 % (50 - 54 years), 0.45 % (55 - 59 years) and 0.82 % (60 - 64 years). Age could be established as an important risk factor for glaucomatous optic nerve atrophy, while no influence of gender or family history was found.
Conclusion: Telemedical evaluation of colour images of the retina and optic nerve acquired by a non-mydriatic fundus camera allows a fast and efficient screening of many subjects with medium reliability.
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.