Purpose: The purpose of this study was to observe the blood flow velocity in the retrobulbar vessels of patients with glaucoma with different appearances of optic discs.
Methods: Patients with four different disc appearances (focal ischemic discs, myopic glaucomatous discs, senile sclerotic discs, and discs with a generalized enlargement of the cup) were selected from a pool of optic disc photographs. No clinical information from the patients was available during the selection. Color Doppler imaging (CDI) was performed in those patients whose discs clearly belonged to one of the disc patterns. The peak systolic and end diastolic velocity were measured and the resistance index calculated from the central retinal artery, short posterior ciliary arteries and ophthalmic artery.
Results: Color Doppler imaging was performed in 24 patients with focal ischemic discs, 26 patients with myopic glaucomatous discs, 16 patients with senile sclerotic discs, and 16 patients with generalized enlargements of the cup. The patients with senile sclerotic discs had statistically significantly lower diastolic velocity and a higher resistance index in their ophthalmic, central retinal and the mean of the short posterior ciliary arteries sampled. These statistical differences persisted for the ophthalmic artery even after correcting the values for the age differences between the groups.
Conclusions: Patients with senile sclerotic discs seem to have greater circulatory abnormalities in their retrobulbar vessels studied with color Doppler imaging that are compatible with a higher downstream resistance in these vessels. These circulatory abnormalities could be related to the pathogenesis of the glaucoma in these patients.