Purpose: To assess the potential of a clinical method of optic disc measurement in the detection of early neuroretinal rim loss in glaucoma.
Methods: A method of disc biometry based on indirect ophthalmoscopy was used to estimate disc and neuroretinal rim areas in 81 ocular hypertensive eyes of 43 patients and in 28 fellow eyes with normal visual fields of patients with unilateral visual field loss from primary open-angle glaucoma. The results were compared with those from age-matched visually normal patients.
Results: Neuroretinal rim area was significantly smaller in both hypertensive and fellow eye groups compared with controls (P < 0.0001; P = 0.0009). Disc area also was smaller in both groups (P = 0.0034; P = 0.046); however, this was inadequate to explain the differences in rim area, which, when corrected for disc size, were still highly significant (P < 0.0001; P = 0.0001).
Conclusion: The differences in neuroretinal rim area observed are likely to indicate that a proportion of the eyes studied had suffered a reduction of neuroretinal rim area, which was measurable by this method at a stage before the development of demonstrable visual field loss.