Optic nerve head blood flow using a laser Doppler velocimeter and haemorheology in primary open angle glaucoma and normal pressure glaucoma.
Optic disc blood flow velocity was measured in healthy patients, those with primary open angle glaucoma (POAG), and patients with normal pressure glaucoma (NPG). The velocity of the red blood cells (RBCs) in the capillaries of the optic nerve head (ONH) has been measured with a laser Doppler velocimeter (LDV), and blood viscosity has been evaluated notably by determining the aggregability of the RBCs with an erythroaggregameter. Our results in POAG patients and NPG patients showed that their optic nerve blood flow velocity was reduced and that the aggregability of the RBCs was increased. The hyperaggregability of the erythrocytes is responsible for the increase of the local viscosity in the papillary capillary network. These haemodynamic modifications observed in patients with glaucoma support the hypothesis of a vasogenic mechanism that could impair the optic nerve in glaucoma patients.