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Anne Schroeder, Alon Harris, Brent Siesky, Leslie Tobe, Nathaniel Kim, Annahita Amireskandari, Brian Marek, Lyne Racette, George Eckert, Ariel Tyring; Retinal Nerve Fiber Layer Thickness is Correlated to Retrobulbar Blood Flow in Glaucoma Patients of African Descent. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(15):4442.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To examine the relationship between retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness and retrobulbar blood flow in open angle glaucoma (OAG) patients of African descent (AD) and European descent (ED) over three years.
67 patients with OAG (18 AD, 49 ED) were assessed for RNFL thickness as measured by optical coherence tomography (OCT) and blood flow velocities and vascular resistive index (RI) in the ophthalmic artery (OA), central retinal artery (CRA) and nasal (NPCA) and temporal (TPCA) posterior ciliary arteries using color Doppler imaging (CDI). Pearson correlations were calculated to evaluate the associations between measurements at baseline and between the changes in measurements between baseline and 3 years with p<0.05 considered statistically significant.
In patients of AD, change in average RNFL thickness was significantly correlated with change in TPCA end diastolic velocity (EDV) (r=0.77, p=0.01) and change in TPCA RI (r=0.69, p=0.04). Change in inferior RNFL thickness was also correlated with change in TPCA EDV (r=0.79, p=0.01), change in temporal RNFL thickness was positively correlated with change in CRA EDV (r=0.55, p=0.13) and change in NPCA EDV (r=0.78, p=0.01). Change in superior RNFL thickness was significantly correlated with change in TPCA RI (r=0.68, p=0.04) and significantly correlated with change in CRA RI (r=0.82, p=0.005) over three years. In patients of ED, these correlations were weak and did not reach statistical significance (r=-0.07 to 0.16, p>0.05) with the exception of the correlation between temporal RNFL thickness and CRA EDV (r=-0.34, p=0.03). There were statistically significant differences in the strength of correlations between AD and ED groups for each relationship (p<0.005).
In this cohort of patients with OAG, changes in retrobulbar blood flow velocities and vascular resistance were correlated with changes in RNFL thickness in patients of AD. These relationships were not found in OAG patients of ED. This suggests that OAG patients of AD and ED may have differences in the vascular contribution to their glaucomatous damage.
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