Blood viscosity at 10 shear rates, plasma viscosity, packed cell volume, plasma fibrinogen, serum alpha 2-macroglobulin, and serum proteins were measured in 83 patients with low-tension glaucoma (LTG) and 23 patients with 'high-tension glaucoma' (HTG: at least one IOP reading above 40 mmHg) and compared with those in 50 controls. Blood and plasma viscosity values and packed cell volume were significantly higher in the LTG group than those in controls. The HTG and the LTG groups differed only in plasma viscosity, but smoking and drinking habits in the HTG patients were greatly different from those in LTG patients and controls, thus preventing interpretation of data in the HTG group. Within the LTG group viscosity values were highest in a subgroup designated earlier by us as focal ischaemic LTG, whereas another subgroup, senile sclerotic LTG, did not show significant differences compared with controls. These findings may indicate a factor in the pathogenesis of visual field defects and disc cupping in some patients with LTG.
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