Retinal ganglion cell atrophy correlated with automated perimetry in human eyes with glaucoma

Am J Ophthalmol. 1989 May 15;107(5):453-64. doi: 10.1016/0002-9394(89)90488-1.


We measured the number and size of retinal ganglion cells from six human eyes with glaucoma. In each, the histologic findings were correlated with visual field results. Five age-matched normal eyes were studied for comparison. In general, there were fewer remaining large ganglion cells in retinal areas with atrophy. In the perifoveal area, however, no consistent pattern of cell loss by size was found. Our estimates suggest that visual field sensitivity in automated testing begins to decline soon after the initial loss of ganglion cells. Throughout the central 30 degrees of the retina, 20% of the normal number of cells were gone in locations with a 5-dB sensitivity loss, and 40% cell loss corresponded to a 10-dB decrease. There were some remaining ganglion cells in areas that had 0-dB sensitivity in the field test.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Atrophy / pathology
  • Cell Count / methods
  • Cell Survival
  • Glaucoma, Open-Angle / diagnosis
  • Glaucoma, Open-Angle / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Retina / pathology*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / pathology*
  • Visual Field Tests*
  • Visual Fields