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Ronald S. Harwerth, Louvenia Carter-Dawson, Earl L. Smith, George Barnes, William F. Holt, Morris L. J. Crawford; Neural Losses Correlated with Visual Losses in Clinical Perimetry. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2004;45(9):3152-3160. doi: 10.1167/iovs.04-0227.
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purpose. The validity of clinical perimetry for evaluation of the pathology of glaucoma is based on correlated losses in retinal ganglion cells and visual sensitivity, but procedures to quantify neural losses from visual field defects have not been developed. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the neural and sensitivity losses from experimental glaucoma to establish the framework for a quantitative model for the structure–function relationships of standard clinical perimetry.
methods. Perimetry, by behavioral testing, and retinal histology data were obtained from rhesus monkeys with significant visual field defects caused by experimental glaucoma. Ganglion cell densities were obtained from sections of retina that corresponded to 16 perimetry test locations. Perimetry sensitivity as a function of ganglion cell density at corresponding retina/visual field locations was analyzed.
results. The structure–function relationships were linear on log–log coordinates, with parameters that varied systematically with eccentricity. The slope value varied from 1.25 dB/dB at 4.2° from fixation to a value of 2.32 dB/dB at 24° from fixation, whereas the intercept value varied from −25.2 dB to −55.7 dB over the same range of eccentricities. The structure–function relationships produced a model to predict the ganglion cell density underlying a given level of visual sensitivity and location in the visual field. The model, with no free parameters, produced an accurate and relatively precise quantification of retinal ganglion cell losses caused by experimental glaucoma in monkeys. However, because the early detection of glaucoma is limited by intersubject variability, ganglion cell losses of 40% to 50% were necessary before visual sensitivity losses exceeded the normal 95% confidence limits.
conclusions. With retinal eccentricity as a factor, the neural losses from glaucoma are predictable from visual sensitivity measurements by clinical perimetry. The relationships derived from experimental glaucoma in monkeys also accurately predict the rate of age-related losses of retinal ganglion cells in humans, based on the normative perimetry data for age-related reductions in visual sensitivity. The success of the model in this study suggested that it is potentially applicable to the clinical interpretation of the state of glaucomatous optic neuropathy.
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