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Johannes Schoemann, Tobias Engelhorn, Simone Waerntges, Arnd Doerfler, Ahmed El-Rafei, Georg Michelson; Cerebral Microinfarcts in Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma Correlated With DTI-Derived Integrity of Optic Radiation. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2014;55(11):7241-7247. doi: 10.1167/iovs.14-14919.
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To evaluate the correlation between the extent of cerebral white matter lesions (WMLs) and the integrity of the visual pathway represented by fractional anisotropy (FA) in patients with primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG).
This case-control study included a total of 61 German patients (39 POAG patients, 22 controls) matched for age and sex. Fractional anisotropy of the optic radiation was determined by 3-Tesla diffusion tensor imaging. White matter lesions and brain volumes were manually measured by using a T2-weighted, 3-D fluid-attenuated inversion recovery sequence.
In POAG patients WML volumes were significantly (P = 0.04) increased in the subcortical area. This applied for both absolute and relative units to the specific patient's brain volume, compared to controls. The WML volumes were significantly (P = 0.003) greater in middle-aged (40–59 years) POAG patients than control patients. In controls there was a significant age correlation of WML volumes in the total brain, subcortical, and optic radiation regions of interest. There was a significant correlation between FA and WML in POAG regarding the total brain, the periventricular region, and the optic radiation in both hemispheres. In POAG, FA left and right optic radiation correlated significantly with age (P = 0.002).
We were able to demonstrate that (1) POAG patients aged 40 to 60 years had higher volumes of cerebral microinfarcts and (2) POAG patients showed a significant correlation between cerebral microinfarcts and degeneration of the optic radiation. This indicates that cerebral microinfarcts might be an intracerebral risk factor for glaucomatous optic nerve atrophy.
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