Nerve Fiber Layer Thickness in Glaucoma Patients With Asymmetric Hemifield Visual Field Loss

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Abstract

Purpose

To investigate the presence of retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thinning and determine the relationship between RNFL thickness and visual field sensitivity loss in glaucoma patients with asymmetric hemifield visual field loss.

Patients and Methods

Thirty glaucoma patients with asymmetric hemifield visual field loss and 30 normal control subjects were included in the study. RNFL thickness was measured by optical coherence tomography and visual field sensitivity was measured by automated perimetry. Glaucoma patients with advanced visual field loss restricted to 1 hemifield and early or absent glaucomatous field loss in the other hemifield on the basis of the visual field data were included. Visual field sensitivity and mean deviation (MD) were averaged separately in each of the 2 hemifields. The hemifields in each eye were categorized as early (MD≥−6 dB) and advanced (MD<−6 dB) glaucomatous hemifields.

Results

RNFL thickness measurements in corresponding (eg, superior peripapillary quadrant with inferior hemifield) advanced glaucomatous hemifields (59±16 μm) were significantly (P<0.001) lower than in corresponding early glaucomatous hemifields (90±25 μm). The mean RNFL thickness in corresponding advanced and early glaucomatous hemifields were significantly lower than in normal control subjects (P<0.0001). On the basis of the normative database supplied by optical coherence tomography software, 100% and 43% of eyes had abnormal RNFL thickness in corresponding advanced and early glaucomatous hemifields, respectively. A linear correlation was found between RNFL thickness and MD in the early (r=0.6; P<0.001) and advanced (r=0.5; P=0.007) glaucomatous hemifields.

Conclusions

RNFL thinning was present in corresponding hemifields of glaucomatous eyes with minimal visual field defect and correlated with visual field sensitivity loss. Measurement of RNFL thickness has potential for detection of early nerve fiber loss owing to glaucoma.

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