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Patients With Normal Tension Glaucoma Have Relative Sparing of the Relative Afferent Pupillary Defect Compared to Those With Open Angle Glaucoma and Elevated Intraocular Pressure

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Mitchell Lawlor, Ana Quartilho, Catey Bunce, Neil Nathwani, Emily Dowse, Debbie Kamal, Gus Gazzard

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5237-5241
Number of pages5
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017

King's Authors


Purpose: We determined whether there is relative sparing of pupil function in glaucoma patients with normal pressures compared to those with high pressures.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was done of 68 patients with primary open angle glaucoma (POAG): 38 had normal IOPs on all-day phasing before treatment (never >21 mm Hg), with confirmed progression of glaucomatous optic neuropathy (NTG) and 30 had glaucomatous optic neuropathy associated with elevated intraocular pressures (>25 mm Hg; HP-POAG). The relative afferent pupillary defect (RAPD) was quantified with the RAPDx device, and mean deviation of visual field loss was obtained from reliable Humphrey visual fields. Outcomes measures evaluated were difference in slope between NTG and HP-POAG when plotting: (1) RAPD score against difference in mean deviation (MD) between eyes, and (2) RAPD score against difference in RNFL thickness between eyes.

Results: The slopes for magnitude of RAPD versus difference in MD were -0.06 (95% confidence interval [CI], -0.076, -0.044) for patients with NTG and -0.08 (95% CI, -0.109, -0.067) for those with HP-POAG. Fitting the interaction term showed a statistically significant difference between the slopes (0.023; 95% CI [0.0017, 0.0541]; P value = 0.037; HP-POAG reference group). Thus, for difference in MD, the slope for patients with NTG was flatter than the slope for those with HP-POAG.

Conclusions: Glaucoma patients with NTG have a lesser RAPD for a given level of intereye difference of HVF MD, compared to patients with high IOPs. This suggests that damage to intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs) differs between the normal and high-pressure forms of open-angle glaucoma (OAG), and supports the theory that mitochondrial optic neuropathies may have a role in the group of diagnoses currently termed normal tension glaucoma.

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