Association of Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Anterior Optic Pathway with Glaucomatous Visual Field Damage and Optic Disc Cupping


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Abstract

Purpose:To investigate the association of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of anterior optic pathway with glaucomatous visual field damage and optic disc cupping.Subjects and Methods:Twenty-three healthy volunteers (controls) and 31 glaucoma patients (14 with primary open angle glaucoma and 17 with normal tension glaucoma) were enrolled. All the participants showed no abnormal signs in their intracranial space and optic tract causing optic nerve atrophy and visual field defect, as confirmed by MRI. Multislice T1-weighted spin-echo imaging was performed in the sagittal plane followed by the coronal plane. MRI enabled the evaluation of the diameter of the optic nerve located in the retro-bulb space and the height of the optic chiasm in an observer-masked fashion. The MRI data were compared with the mean deviation (MD) score of the full threshold static visual field test and the optic cup-disc ratio (C/D ratio).Results:The optic nerve diameter was significantly smaller in glaucoma patients (2.25 ± 0.33 mm) than in controls (2.47 ± 0.24 mm) and the height of the optic chiasm was significantly shorter in glaucoma patients (2.12 ± 0.37 mm) than in controls (2.77 ± 0.36 mm). The optic nerve diameter showed significant correlation with MD score (r = 0.547, P = 0.001) and C/D ratio (r = 0.407, P = 0.009). These correlations are similar to that between MD score and C/D ratio (r = 0.490, P = 0.001). The height of the optic chiasm showed significant correlation with MD score (r = 0.503, P = 0.01) and low correlation with C/D ratio (r = 0.339, P = 0.113).Conclusion:Glaucoma affects the anterior visual pathway anterogradely at least up to the optic chiasm, and these morphologic changes in the anterior visual pathway are correlated with glaucomatous optic nerve damage. MRI of the anterior visual pathway may be a good tool for evaluating glaucomatous damage objectively.

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