Purpose: The aim of the present paper is to describe the variations in intraocular pressure (IOP) during the day in normals, in patients with primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) and in patients with normal-tension glaucoma (NTG). IOP represents one of the most important risk factors for glaucoma. However the IOP value is not constant during the day and IOP fluctuation could influence the diagnostic and prognostic evaluation of the glaucomatous disease.
Methods: For this purpose IOP was evaluated every 2 h from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in one randomized eye of 33 normal subjects, 95 POAG and 50 NTG patients.
Results: The results show that the highest IOP values were detectable in the morning in all three groups. The lowest values were found in the early afternoon hours. These variations were most evident in POAG patients. The daily IOP fluctuations were directly proportional to IOP level.
Conclusion: The study evidents that a single tonometric evaluation, especially if done in the first hours of the afternoon, is not sufficient to correctly evaluate the IOP-related risk in glaucoma patients. If the pressure peaks are important in determining the extent of glaucomatous damage in NTG patients IOP should not have an important role in optic nerve head damage. The use of diurnal curves seems to be mandatory for the assessment of IOP-related risk and of efficiency of the therapeutic approach.