To evaluate which morphologic features of the optic disc are predictive factors for the development or progression of visual field loss in chronic open-angle glaucoma.
The prospective observational clinical study included 763 eyes of 416 white subjects with ocular hypertension and chronic open-angle glaucoma. During the follow-up time (mean, 67.4 months; median, 65.1; range, 6.2-104.5), all patients underwent repeated qualitative and morphometric evaluation of color stereo optic disc photographs and white-on-white visual field examination. Progression of glaucomatous visual field damage was defined by point-wise regression analysis for each of the 59 locations in the visual field. Outcome measures were qualitative and quantitative morphologic optic nerve head parameters.
Development or progression of glaucomatous visual field defects was detected in 106 (13.9%) eyes. At baseline of the study, neuroretinal rim area was significantly (P < 0.002) smaller, the beta zone of parapapillary atrophy (P < 0.003, nasal sector) was significantly larger, and age was significantly higher (P < 0.003) in the progressive study group than in the nonprogressive study group. Both study groups did not vary significantly in size of the optic disc and the alpha zone of parapapillary atrophy. Cox proportional hazard regression analysis revealed that the progression of glaucomatous visual field loss depended significantly on the area of the neuroretinal rim (P < 0.001) and age (P < 0.001), but was independent of diameter of the retinal arterioles and veins.
Morphologic predictive factors for development or progression of glaucomatous visual field defects in whites are small neuroretinal rim area and large beta zone of parapapillary atrophy. Age is an additional nonmorphologic parameter. Progression of glaucomatous optic nerve head changes is independent of the size of the optic disc and alpha-zone of parapapillary atrophy and retinal vessel diameter.