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Joseph Juliano, Bruce Burkemper, Jae Lee, Andrew Nelson, Vivian LeTran, Zhongdi Chu, Gabriella Zhou, Xuejuan Jiang, Ruikang K. Wang, Rohit Varma, Grace M. Richter; Longer Axial Length Potentiates Relationship of Intraocular Pressure and Peripapillary Vessel Density in Glaucoma Patients. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2021;62(9):37. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.62.9.37.
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The purpose of this study was to investigate how axial length (AL) changes the relationship of intraocular pressure (IOP) with peripapillary vessel density (pVD) in glaucoma versus non-glaucomatous eyes.
A population-based, cross-sectional study of 2127 African Americans aged 40 years and older in Inglewood, California, were imaged with 6 × 6-mm optic disc optical coherence tomography angiography scans. There were 1028 healthy subjects (1539 eyes) and 65 subjects with glaucoma (86 eyes) who met inclusion criteria. A multivariable linear mixed effects regression model investigated the relationship of IOP on pVD after controlling for signal strength, retinal nerve fiber layer thickness, and age. These results were stratified by AL groups.
Higher IOP was a significant predictor of lower pVD among subjects with glaucoma (P = 0.009), but not among healthy subjects (P = 0.26). After stratifying by the sample median AL (23.46 mm), higher IOP was associated with lower pVD among subjects with glaucoma with longer AL (≥ 23.46 mm, P = 0.005), but not among those in the shorter AL (< 23.46 mm, P = 0.45). IOP was not significantly associated with pVD among healthy subjects in either AL stratum.
Among subjects with glaucoma with longer AL, IOP was significantly associated with pVD. This relationship was not seen among subjects with glaucoma with shorter AL or non-glaucomatous subjects in either AL group. These findings support the hypothesis that disturbed retinal autoregulation may be present in subjects with glaucoma with longer AL. Longitudinal studies are needed to further investigate whether axial elongation increases glaucoma risk by compromising retinal autoregulation.
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