September 03, 2013
1 min read

Localized RNFL defects linked to retinal ganglion cell loss in glaucomatous eyes

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Localized retinal nerve fiber layer defects were associated with high neuronal losses, according to a study.

The study comprised patients who participated in the African Descent and Glaucoma Evaluation Study and the Diagnostic Innovations in Glaucoma Study; 198 normal eyes of 138 patients and 66 glaucomatous eyes of 55 patients were included.

All patients underwent standard automated perimetry, spectral-domain optical coherence tomography and fundus stereophotography. A structure-function index was used to estimate retinal ganglion cell loss.

One hundred thirty-six sectors with visible retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) defects and 524 sectors without defects were observed in glaucomatous eyes. RNFL defects most frequently appeared in the inferior, inferotemporal, superior and supertemporal sectors.

Mean estimated retinal ganglion cell counts were 657,172 cells in eyes with visible RNFL defects and 968,883 cells in healthy eyes; the difference was statistically significant (P < .001).

Sectors with visible RNFL defects had an average combined structure-function index of 59, and adjacent sectors without visible RNFL defects had an index of 15; the difference was statistically significant (P < .001). The index in healthy eyes was 1 (P < .001).

Disclosure: See the study for a full list of all authors’ relevant financial disclosures.