J Glaucoma. 2023 Sep 13. doi: 10.1097/IJG.0000000000002310. Online ahead of print.
PRCIS: Capillary and neuronal tissue loss occur both globally and with regional specificity in pre-perimetric glaucoma patients at the level of the optic nerve and macula, with perifovea regions affected earlier than parafovea areas.
PURPOSE: To investigate optic nerve head (ONH) and macular vessel densities (VD) and structural parameters assessed by optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) in pre-perimetric open-angle glaucoma (ppOAG) patients and healthy controls.
METHODS: 113 healthy and 79 ppOAG patients underwent global and regional (hemispheric/quadrants) assessments of retinal, ONH, and macular vascularity and structure, including ONH parameters, retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) and ganglion cell complex (GCC) thickness. Comparisons between outcomes in ppOAG and controls were adjusted for age, sex, race, BMI, diabetes, and hypertension, with P<0.05 considered statistically significant.
RESULTS: In ppOAG compared to healthy controls: RNFL thicknesses was statistically significantly lower for all hemispheres, quadrants and sectors (P<0.001-0.041); whole image peripapillary all and small blood vessels VD were statistically significantly lower for all the quadrants (P<0.001-0.002), except for the peripapillary small vessels in the temporal quadrant (ppOAG: 49.66 (8.40), healthy: 53.45 (4.04); P=0.843); GCC and inner and full macular thicknesses in the parafoveal and perifoveal regions were significantly lower in all the quadrants (P=0.000-P=0.033); several macular VD were significantly lower (P=0.006-0.034), with the exceptions of macular center, parafoveal superior and inferior quadrant, and perifoveal superior quadrant (P>0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: In ppOAG patients, VD biomarkers in both the macula and ONH, alongside RNFL, GCC, and macular thickness were significantly reduced prior to detectable VF loss with regional specificity. The most significant VD reduction detected was in the peripheric (perifovea) regions. Macular and ONH decrease in VD may serve as early biomarker of glaucomatous disease.