To assess the temporal relationship between visual field progression and optic disc deterioration in early glaucoma, we studied 15 patients with unilateral visual field loss from primary open angle glaucoma. Planimetric optic disc measurements were compared with automated static threshold perimetry during a mean follow-up of 6.1 years. Eight (53%) of 15 eyes with an initially normal visual field showed progression of the disc; six of these eyes did not develop field abnormalities. The mean rates of rim-area loss were 1.7%/y in eyes with initially normal fields and 2.1%/y in eyes with initial field loss. The mean rate of visual field deterioration (change in corrected loss variance) was lower in the eyes with an initially normal field (0.3 dB2/y) than in eyes with initial field loss (3.6 dB2/y; P = .016). This longitudinal study documents progressive disc damage prior to field loss in early glaucoma.