To longitudinally evaluate optical coherence tomography (OCT) peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer thickness measurements and to compare these measurements across time with clinical status and automated perimetry.
Retrospective evaluation of 64 eyes (37 patients) of glaucoma suspects or patients with glaucoma participating in a prospective longitudinal study. All participants underwent comprehensive clinical assessment, visual field (VF) testing, and OCT every 6 months. Field progression was defined as a reproducible decline of at least 2 dB in VF mean deviation from baseline. Progression of OCT was defined as reproducible mean retinal nerve fiber layer thinning of at least 20 μm.
Each patient had a median of 5 usable OCT scans at median follow-up of 4.7 years. The difference in the linear regression slopes of retinal nerve fiber layer thickness between glaucoma suspects and patients with glaucoma was nonsignificant for all variables; however, Kaplan-Meier survival curve analysis demonstrated a higher progression rate by OCT vs VF. Sixty-six percent of eyes were stable throughout follow-up, whereas 22% progressed by OCT alone, 9% by VF mean deviation alone, and 3% by VF and OCT.
A greater likelihood of glaucomatous progression was identified by OCT vs automated perimetry. This might reflect OCT hypersensitivity or true damage identified by OCT before detection by conventional methods.