To investigate photoreceptor changes in eyes with glaucoma.
The study included 35 eyes of 35 patients with primary open-angle glaucoma who had suffered parafoveal visual field loss at least 3 years previously, as well as 21 eyes of 21 normal subjects. Eyes with an axial length ≥26.0 mm were excluded. All subjects underwent a full ophthalmologic examination, including spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SDOCT) and prototype adaptive-optics scanning laser ophthalmoscopy (AO-SLO) imaging.
As determined using AO-SLO, eyes with glaucoma did not differ significantly from normal eyes in terms of either cone density (26 468 ± 3392 cones/m2 vs 26 147 ± 2700 cones/m2, respectively; P = .77; measured 0.5 mm from the foveal center) or cone spatial organization (ratio of hexagonal Voronoi domain: 43.7% ± 4.4% vs 44.3% ± 4.9%; P = .76; measured 0.5 mm from the foveal center). Furthermore, SDOCT showed that the 2 groups did not differ significantly in terms of the photoreceptor-related layer thickness, and that the photoreceptor ellipsoid zone band was continuous in all normal and glaucoma eyes. In glaucoma eyes with vertically asymmetric severity, the more affected side did not significantly differ from the less affected side in terms of cone density, cone spatial organization, or photoreceptor-related layer thickness. In 8 eyes (22.9%) with glaucoma, dark, partition-like areas surrounded the cones on the AO-SLO.
Both AO-SLO and SDOCT showed cone integrity in eyes with glaucoma, even in areas with visual field and nerve fiber loss. In AO-SLO, microcystic lesions in the inner nuclear layer may influence images of the cone mosaic.