Photographs of the optic discs and fluorescein angiograms of 31 patients with open-angle glaucoma and 43 patients with ocular hypertension were evaluated for nerve fiber layer (NFL) defects and absolute fluorescein filling defects. All of the glaucomatous eyes showed both defects. Of the 43 ocular hypertensive eyes, in which both NFL and absolute fluorescein filling defects were evaluated, 9% had only NFL defects, 19% had only fluorescein filling defects, 14% had both defects, and 58% had neither defect. The percent area of fluorescein defect in the optic disc increased with severity of NFL defect in glaucoma and ocular hypertension. This study confirms the relationship of fluorescein filling defects and NFL defects to glaucomatous abnormalities and thus the association between vascular damage to the optic nerve and axon loss in glaucoma. The earliest objective evidence of glaucomatous damage can be detected with a combination of NFL evaluation and optic disc fluorescein angiography.