Morphological and functional differences between normal-tension and high-tension glaucoma

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To compare visual field (VF) and nerve fibre loss in patients with normal-tension (NTG) and high-tension glaucoma (HTG) at an equal level of glaucomatous structural damage of the optic nerve head (ONH).


In a retrospective, pair-matched, comparative study, 126 eyes with NTG and 126 eyes with HTG were matched according to the same glaucomatous ONH damage based on rim volume, rim area and disc size measured by the Heidelberg Retina Tomograph (HRT III). Visual field by Humphrey perimetry and nerve fibre layer thickness measured by scanning laser polarimetry (GdxVCC) were compared between both groups.


Based on the HRT, NTG and HTG displayed comparable structural damage of the ONH without a statistically significant difference between both groups (mean, NTG/HTG: disc area 2.32/2.32 mm2, p =0.342; rim area 1.03/1.00 mm2, p = 0.279; rim volume 0.2/0.19 mm3; p = 0.274). Eyes with NTG had significantly less VF damage than eyes with HTG (mean, NTG/HTG: mean deviation (MD) −3.69/−9.77 dB, p = 0.0001; pattern standard deviation (PSD) 4.80/7.17 dB, p = 0.0001). The nerve fibre layer of NTG patients was thicker than that of HTG patients (mean, NTG/HTG: GDx total: 46.9/44.0 μm, p = 0.073; GDx superior: 57.2/49.9 μm, p = 0.0001; GDx inferior: 54.9/49.7 μm, p = 0.001).


At an equal level of glaucomatous structural damage of the ONH indicated by cupping, rim area and rim volume, NTG patients seem to have a less affected visual field and a better preserved nerve fibre layer than HTG patients.

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