Optic disc hemorrhages and progression of glaucoma

Ophthalmology. 1996 Jul;103(7):1014-24. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(96)30572-1.


Purpose: To assess progressive changes of the optic nerve head and visual fields in patients with glaucoma and ocular hypertension after optic disc hemorrhage.

Methods: The authors reviewed the charts of 91 patients with 121 disc hemorrhages who had a mean follow-up of 41.9 +/- 3.6 months. The frequency of visual field and optic nerve head changes in these patients was studied.

Results: The mean intraocular pressure at the examination when the disc hemorrhage was noted was 18.9 +/- 0.5 mmHg. Overall, 64 (63%) of 101 eyes showed progressive changes of visual fields after disc hemorrhage, compared with 24 (24%) of 101 control eyes (P < 0.0005). Similarly, 56 (79%) of 71 eyes showed progressive changes of optic nerve head contour by masked evaluation of stereophotographs, compared with 16 (22%) of 71 control eyes (P < 0.0005). Eyes with disc hemorrhage showed significantly greater progression of visual field defects in patients with open-angle glaucoma (P < 0.001), low-tension glaucoma (P < 0.05), and ocular hypertension (P = 0.0067) compared with control eyes matched by age, follow-up time, and diagnosis. Similarly, progressive changes of optic nerve head contour were observed more often in eyes after disc hemorrhage in patients with open-angle glaucoma (P < 0.0005), low-tension glaucoma (P < 0.025), and ocular hypertension (P < 0.005), compared with controls. The mean time interval to progression after disc hemorrhage was observed was 16.8 +/- 2.0 months for visual field changes and 23.8 +/- 2.9 months for optic nerve head changes. In eyes with disc hemorrhage, 27 (22%) of 121 had recurrent hemorrhages at a mean interval of 21.5 +/- 2.9 months after previous hemorrhage. The most common site of disc hemorrhage was the inferotemporal quadrant. Eyes with disc hemorrhage that occurred on the temporal side of the optic nerve head had a significantly lower intraocular pressure (P < 0.02) and greater progressive changes of the optic discs (P < 0.001) compared with eyes with hemorrhage on the nasal side.

Conclusion: The authors' results indicate that disc hemorrhages in eyes with glaucoma or ocular hypertension often are associated with progressive changes of the optic nerve head and visual fields.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glaucoma / etiology*
  • Glaucoma / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Intraocular Pressure
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ocular Hypertension / etiology
  • Ocular Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Optic Disk*
  • Optic Nerve Diseases / etiology
  • Optic Nerve Diseases / physiopathology
  • Photography
  • Recurrence
  • Retinal Hemorrhage / complications*
  • Retinal Hemorrhage / physiopathology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Visual Fields