Glaucoma-associated abnormalities in cortical activity during a visuocognitive task

Clin Neurophysiol. 2023 Dec:156:47-56. doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2023.09.012. Epub 2023 Oct 11.


Objective: To investigate neurophysiological dynamics during a visuocognitive task in glaucoma patients vs. healthy controls.

Methods: Fifteen patients with early-stage primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) and fifteen age-matched healthy participants underwent a "go/no-go" task, monitored with EEG. Participants had to semantically categorize visual objects in central vision, with animal or furniture as targets according to the experimental block.

Results: Early visual processing was delayed by 50 ms in patients with POAG compared to controls. The patients displayed a smaller difference between animal and furniture categorization during higher-level cognitive processing (at 400-600 ms). Regarding behavioral data, the groups differed in accuracy performance and decision criterion. As opposed to the control group, patients did not display facilitation and a higher accuracy rate for animal stimuli. However, patients maintained a consistent decision criterion throughout the experiment, whereas controls displayed a shift towards worse decision criteria in furniture trials, with higher error rate.

Conclusions: The comparative analysis of behavioral and neurophysiological data revealed in POAG patients a delay in early visual processing, and potential high-level cognitive compensation during late, task-dependent activations.

Significance: To our knowledge, our findings provide the first evidence of modification in cognitive brain dynamics associated with POAG.

Keywords: Cognition; EEG; Glaucoma; Plasticity; Vision Loss.

MeSH terms

  • Brain
  • Glaucoma, Open-Angle* / complications
  • Humans
  • Visual Fields
  • Visual Perception