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Influence of choroidal microvasculature dropout on progressive retinal nerve fibre layer thinning in primary open-angle glaucoma: comparison of parapapillary β-zones and γ-zones

Abstract

Background/aims To compare the influence of choroidal microvasculature dropout (cMvD) on progressive retinal nerve fibre layer (RNFL) thinning in glaucomatous eyes with parapapillary β-zones and γ-zones.

Methods 294 eyes with primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) and parapapillary atrophy (PPA) underwent optical coherence tomography (OCT) to determine the type of PPA and OCT angiography scanning of the optic nerve head to determine the presence of cMvD. Eyes were classified based on the type of PPA (β-zones and γ-zones), and their clinical characteristics were compared. Factors associated with the rate of rapid progressive RNFL thinning were determined in each group, including the presence of cMvD as an independent variable.

Results Of the 294 eyes, 186 and 108 were classified as having β-zones and γ-zones, respectively. The rate of RNFL thinning was slower (p<0.001), axial length was longer (p<0.001) and presence of cMvD was less frequent (57.4% vs 73.1%, p=0.006) in eyes with γ-zone than those with β-zone. Multivariate analyses showed that greater lamina cribrosa curvature (p=0.047) and the presence of cMvD (p=0.010) were associated with a faster rate of RNFL thinning in eyes with β-zone, whereas larger intraocular pressure fluctuation (p<0.001), shorter axial length (p=0.042) and greater baseline RNFL thickness (p<0.001) were associated with a faster rate of RNFL thinning in eyes with γ-zone.

Conclusions The presence of cMvD was significantly associated with a faster rate of RNFL thinning in POAG eyes with β-zone, but not γ-zone. The pathogenic consequences of cMvD in POAG eyes may depend on accompanying peripapillary structures.

  • glaucoma
  • optic nerve
  • imaging

Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request. All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.

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