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David P. Crabb, David F. Garway-Heath; Intervals between Visual Field Tests When Monitoring the Glaucomatous Patient: Wait-and-See Approach. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012;53(6):2770-2776. doi: 10.1167/iovs.12-9476.
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Published recommendations suggest three visual field (VF) tests per year are required to identify rapid progression in a newly diagnosed glaucomatous patient over 2 years. This report aims to determine if identification of progression would be improved by clustering tests at the beginning and end of the 2-year period.
Computer-simulated “patients” were given a rapid VF (mean deviation [MD]) loss of −2 dB/year with added MD measurement variability. Linear regression of MD against time was used to estimate progression. One group of “patients” was measured every 6 months, another every 4 months, whereas the wait-and-see group were measured either 2 or 3 times at both baseline and at the end of a 2-year period. Stable “patients” (0 dB/year) were generated to examine the effect of the follow-up patterns on false-positive (FP) progression identification.
By 2 years, 58% and 82% of rapidly progressing patients were correctly detected using evenly spaced 6- and 4-month VFs, respectively. This power of detection significantly improved to 62% and 95% with the wait-and-see approach (P < 0.001). When compared with evenly spaced VFs, the rate of MD loss was better estimated by the wait-and-see approach, but average detection time was slightly slower. Evenly spaced testing incurred a significantly higher FP rate: up to 5.9% compared with only 0.4% in wait-and-see (P < 0.001).
Compared with an evenly spaced follow-up, wait-and-see identifies more “patients” with rapid VF progression with fewer FPs, making it particularly applicable to clinical trials. Modeling experiments, as reported here, are useful for investigating and optimizing follow-up schemes.
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