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Value of retinal vein pulsation characteristics in predicting increased optic disc excavation
  1. Chandrakumar Balaratnasingam1,
  2. William H Morgan1,
  3. Martin L Hazelton2,
  4. Phillip H House1,
  5. Chris J Barry1,
  6. Hsien Chan2,
  7. Stephen J Cringle1,
  8. Dao-Yi Yu1
  1. 1Centre of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Lions Eye Institute, University of Western Australia, Nedlands, Western Australia, Australia
  2. 2School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Western Australia, Nedlands, Western Australia, Australia
  1. Correspondence to: Dr C Balaratnasingam Centre of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Lions Eye Institute, 2 Verdun Street, Nedlands 6009, Western Australia, Australia; balaratnasingam{at}


Background: Retinal vein pulsation is often absent in glaucoma, but can be induced by applying a graded ophthalmodynamometric force (ODF) to the eye, which is elevated in glaucoma.

Aim: To assess whether ODF has a predictive value in determining glaucoma progression.

Methods: 75 patients with glaucoma and suspected glaucoma were examined prospectively in 1996, and then re-examined at a mean of 82 months later. All subjects had intraocular pressure, visual fields, stereo optic disc photography and ODF measured on their initial visit. When venous pulsation was spontaneous, the ODF was said to be 0 g. At re-examination, central corneal thickness and blood pressure were also measured. Initial and subsequent optic disc photographs were compared and graded into those that had increased excavation and those that had remained stable. The relationship between increased excavation (recorded as a binary response) and the measured variables was modelled using a multiple mixed effects logistic regression.

Results: ODF at the initial visit was strongly predictive of increased excavation (p = 0.004, odds ratio 1.16/g, range 0–60 g), with greater predictive value in women than in men (p = 0.004). Visual field mean deviation was predictive of increased excavation (p = 0.044), as was optic nerve haemorrhage in association with older age (p = 0.038). Central corneal thickness was not significantly predictive of increased excavation (p = 0.074) after having adjusted for other variables.

Conclusion: ODF measurement seems to be strongly predictive of the patient’s risk for increased optic disc excavation. This suggests that ODF measurement may have predictive value in assessing the likelihood of glaucoma progression.

  • ODF, ophthalmodynamometric force
  • ONH, optic nerve haemorrhage
  • IOP, intraocular pressure
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  • Published Online First 11 October 2006

  • Funding: This work was supported by McCusker Glaucoma Centre, Nedlands, Australia, and the National Health and Medical Research Council, Canberra, Australia (Grant Number 211901). These funding sources had no involvement in the study design, collection, analysis, interpretation of data, the writing of the report and in the decision to submit the paper for publication.

  • Competing interests: None.

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