Purpose: To investigate the coexistence of ocular microvascular and systemic macrovascular abnormalities in early stage, newly diagnosed and previously untreated normal tension glaucoma patients (NTG).
Methods: Retinal vascular reactivity to flickering light was assessed in 19 NTG and 28 age-matched controls by means of dynamic retinal vessel analysis (IMEDOS GmbH, Jena, Germany). Using a newly developed computational model, the entire dynamic vascular response profile to flicker light was imaged and used for analysis. In addition, assessments of carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) and pulse wave analysis (PWA) were conducted on all participants, along with blood pressure (BP) measurements and blood analyses for lipid metabolism markers.
Results: Patients with NTG demonstrated an increased right and left carotid IMT (p = 0.015, p = 0.045) and an elevated PWA augmentation index (p = 0.017) in comparison with healthy controls, along with an enhanced retinal arterial constriction response (p = 0.028), a steeper retinal arterial constriction slope (p = 0.031) and a reduced retinal venous dilation response (p = 0.026) following flicker light stimulation.
Conclusions: Early stage, newly diagnosed, NTG patients showed signs of subclinical vascular abnormalities at both macro- and micro-vascular levels, highlighting the need to consider multi-level circulation-related pathologies in the development and progression of this type of glaucoma.
© 2012 The Authors. Acta Ophthalmologica © 2012 Acta Ophthalmologica Scandinavica Foundation.