The role of cerebrospinal fluid pressure in glaucoma and other ophthalmic diseases: A review

Saudi J Ophthalmol. 2013 Apr;27(2):97-106. doi: 10.1016/j.sjopt.2013.03.002. Epub 2013 Mar 17.


Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness in the world. Well-known risk factors include age, race, a positive family history and elevated intraocular pressures. A newly proposed risk factor is decreased cerebrospinal fluid pressure (CSFP). This concept is based on the notion that a pressure differential exists across the lamina cribrosa, which separates the intraocular space from the subarachnoid fluid space. In this construct, an increased translaminar pressure difference will occur with a relative increase in elevated intraocular pressure or a reduction in CSFP. This net change in pressure is proposed to act on the tissues within the optic nerve head, potentially contributing to glaucomatous optic neuropathy. Similarly, patients with ocular hypertension who have elevated CSFPs, would enjoy a relatively protective effect from glaucomatous damage. This review will focus on the current literature pertaining to the role of CSFP in glaucoma. Additionally, the authors examine the relationship between glaucoma and other known CSFP-related ophthalmic disorders.

Keywords: Cerebrospinal fluid pressure; Glaucoma; Idiopathic intracranial hypertension; Microgravity; Papilledema; Translaminar pressure.

Publication types

  • Review