Purpose: The objective of this research was to compare the loss of retinal ganglion cells subserving the fovea to that of the ganglion cells in the surrounding perifoveal region in eyes with experimental glaucoma.
Methods: Ganglion cell nucleoli were counted using light microscopy from vertically oriented retinal, strips and the cell density was calculated using the modified Abercombie formula. Percent ganglion cell loss in glaucomatous eyes from five monkeys was determined for each of up to five contiguous areas within the central 12 degrees of the retina by comparison to normal fellow eyes.
Results: Loss of central ganglion cells was present even in eyes with mild glaucomatous damage. The percent ganglion cell loss in glaucomatous eyes at five adjacent areas within the central 12 degrees of the retina did not differ significantly (ANOVA, p = 0.77, n = 8). Cell loss in areas nearest to the fovea was indistinguishable from that in more peripheral perifoveal areas.
Conclusions: Foveal ganglion cells appear to be susceptible to experimental glaucoma injury. Psychophysical testing of foveal functions may deserve renewed attention in glaucoma diagnosis and follow-up.