Abnormalities of microcirculation in glaucoma: facts and hints

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Many risk factors associated with glaucoma have been identified recently. The best known of these is increased intraocular pressure (IOP). Among the others, however, vascular risk factors play a major role. Although such vascular factors were already postulated more than 100 years ago, only recent technical developments have afforded systematic investigations of associated microcirculatory disturbances and basic principles of blood flow regulation. In glaucoma, besides IOP, vascular dysregulation (such as local vasospasm and systemic hypotension, resulting in impaired autoregulation of blood flow in the optic nerve head, the choroid, and other ocular tissues) seems to be a major risk factor. However, multiple coacting factors, which are not limited to the eye but are, rather, symptoms of a systemic disease, seem to be involved in the damaging process.

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