Optic disc morphology in "age-related atrophic glaucoma"

Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 1996 Dec;234(12):744-9. doi: 10.1007/BF00189355.


Background: This study was performed in order to evaluate whether, in primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), patients with a different degree of fundus tessellation vary in optic disc morphology and level of intraocular pressure.

Methods: Color stereo optic disc photographs of 562 patients with POAG and a myopic refractive error of less than -8 diopters were morphometrically examined. According to the degree of fundus tessellation, the total group was divided into a tessellated subgroup (n = 256) and a nontessellated subgroup (n = 306), both matched for neuroretinal rim area and refractive error.

Results: In the tessellated subgroup, as compared to the nontessellated subgroup, the mean maximal intraocular pressure values were significantly lower, the parapapillary atrophy was significantly larger, the optic cup was significantly more shallow, frequency of disc hemorrhages was lower, the mean visual field defect was significantly more marked, and patient age was significantly higher. Within the whole study group, the degree of fundus tessellation increased significantly (P < 0.005) with decreasing mean maximal intraocular pressure, decreasing optic cup depth, and increasing degree of parapapillary atrophy. In the subgroups with the highest degree of fundus tessellation, parapapillary atrophy was the greatest and the mean maximal intraocular pressure was the lowest compared to other subgroups.

Conclusion: At the low-pressure end of POAG, marked fundus tessellation is associated with large parapapillary atrophy, shallow disc cupping, mostly concentric emaciation of the neuroretinal rim, and high patient age. The results suggest a distinct subtype of POAG in older patients with relatively low intraocular pressure leading to a mainly diffuse atrophy of the optic nerve.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Fundus Oculi
  • Glaucoma, Open-Angle / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Intraocular Pressure
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Optic Atrophy / pathology*
  • Optic Disk / pathology*