Optic nerve blood-flow abnormalities in glaucoma

Prog Retin Eye Res. 1998 Apr;17(2):267-89. doi: 10.1016/s1350-9462(97)00006-2.


Glaucoma can be defined as an optic nerve disease with typical morphological and functional changes. There are many risk factors associated with this neuropathy. The best known factor is an increased intraocular pressure. There are, however, many other risk factors. Among them, vascular factors play a major role. Although such vascular factors have been postulated more than hundred years ago, it is only recently that the physiology and pathophysiology of the optic nerve head circulation is, to some extent, understood. New instruments have been developed to measure ocular blood flow including blood flow in the optic nerve head. Although most of the studies indicate that circulation is changed in glaucoma patients, there is little association between glaucoma and arteriosclerosis. The main cause for the circulation disturbance in glaucoma seems rather to be a vascular dysregulation leading to local vasospasm and to systemic hypotension.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Glaucoma / diagnosis
  • Glaucoma / physiopathology*
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Intraocular Pressure
  • Laser-Doppler Flowmetry
  • Optic Nerve / anatomy & histology
  • Optic Nerve / blood supply*
  • Optic Nerve Diseases / diagnosis
  • Optic Nerve Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Color