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Akira Sawada, Jonathan A. Rivera, Daisuke Takagi, Takashi Nishida, Tetsuya Yamamoto; Progression to Legal Blindness in Patients With Normal Tension Glaucoma: Hospital-Based Study. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2015;56(6):3635-3641. doi: 10.1167/iovs.14-16093.
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To determine the probability of an eye with normal tension glaucoma (NTG) progressing to legal blindness under standard ophthalmic care.
Patients diagnosed with NTG (n = 382) between 1985 and 2007 at Gifu University Hospital were followed for at least 5 years under standard ophthalmic care. The collected data included the best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA), intraocular pressure (IOP), and visual field status. Blindness was defined as a BCVA of <20/400 or a constriction of the central visual field to <10° according to the World Health Organization criteria. Kaplan-Meier life table analysis was used to estimate the probability of progressing to blindness in one or both eyes.
The mean follow-up period after diagnosis was 13.3 ± 5.4 years with a range of 5.0 to 29.1 years. At diagnosis, 18 patients (4.7%) had unilateral blindness due to glaucoma. At final examination, 34 patients had progressed to unilateral blindness and 5 to bilateral blindness. The Kaplan-Meier life table analysis estimate for unilateral blindness was 5.8 ± 1.3% at 10 years and 9.9 ± 1.9% at 20 years. Similarly, that for bilateral blindness was 0.3 ± 0.3% at 10 years and 1.4 ± 0.8% at 20 years. A Cox proportional hazard model analysis showed that a lower initial BCVA (P < 0.001), a worse initial AGIS (Advanced Glaucoma Intervention Study) score (P = 0.002), and the frequency of changing glaucoma medications during the follow-up periods (P < 0.001) were significantly correlated with the development of blindness in at least one eye.
The probability of blindness in eyes with NTG is much lower than previously reported in patients with high-tension glaucoma. Nevertheless, special care should be taken to follow NTG patients, and especially those with worse BCVA and more advanced visual field loss at diagnosis.
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