The pulsatile ocular blood flow (POBF) has been recorded in 15 patients with chronic open angle glaucoma. Measurements were performed during regular treatment with timolol 0.25% eyedrops, two weeks after withdrawal of this treatment, and then a further two weeks after its reinstitution. Readings were taken with subjects in both the erect and supine positions by means of a pneumotonometric probe to measure intraocular pressure (IOP), linked to a Langham ocular blood flow system. Assumption of the supine posture was associated with a significant increase in IOP in all phases of the study. Treatment with timolol lowered the mean IOP in comparison with the untreated phase (-4.4 (SEM 0.6) mmHg, p less than 0.001) but had no effect on the postural change. A significant reduction in POBF was recorded on assumption of the supine posture (-66 (SEM 18) microliters/min, p less than 0.001), representing a mean decrement of 19%. However, there were no significant differences in POBF between treated and untreated phases of the study. Comparison of the values obtained in patients with glaucoma (COAG) after withdrawal of treatment with those in subjects with ocular hypertension revealed that there was no significant difference in intraocular pressure between the two groups. However, both POBF (-68 (SEM 29) microliters/min) and the pulse amplitude of the intraocular pressure (ocular pulse: -0.45 (SEM) 0.14 mmHg) were significantly lower in the COAG patients. Pulsatile ocular blood flow is significantly lower in patients with chronic open angle glaucoma. Furthermore, the POBF and the postural response of these patients is not improved by the use of topical timolol therapy.
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