Background: An altered perfusion of the optic nerve head has been proposed as a pathogenic factor in glaucoma.
Aim: To investigate potential differences in the ocular haemodynamics of patients having glaucoma with progressive versus stable disease, as well as healthy volunteers.
Methods: Peak-systolic velocity (PSV), end-diastolic velocity (EDV) and resistivity index in the short posterior ciliary artery (SPCA), central retinal artery (CRA) and ophthalmic artery were recorded in 114 consecutive patients having glaucoma with an intraocular pressure (IOP) ⩽21 mm Hg, as well as in 40 healthy volunteers, by colour Doppler imaging (CDI).
Results: Of the 114 patients with glaucoma, 12 showed glaucoma progression (follow-up period: mean 295 (standard deviation (SD) (18) days). CDI measurements in these patients showed decreased PSV and EDV in the SPCA (p<0.001 and p<0.05, respectively) and decreased PSV in the CRA compared with patients with stable glaucoma and healthy controls (p<0.05). No differences in flow velocities were found for the ophthalmic artery. IOP and systemic blood pressure was similar in all the three groups.
Conclusions: Progressive glaucoma is associated with decreased blood flow velocities in the small retrobulbar vessels supplying the optic nerve head. The detected difference could represent a risk factor for progression of glaucomatous optic neuropathy.
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