News and notices. Comm Eye Health Vol. 11 No. 26 1998. June 01, 1998

Aging changes of the optic nerve head in relation to open angle glaucoma

D F Garway-Heath, G Wollstein, R A Hitchings

Aims: To determine the age related changes in optic nerve head structure in a group of normal subjects and assess the significance of any changes in relation to those found in open angle glaucoma. Methods: A group of 88 white volunteers and friends and spouses of patients with a normal visual field and normal intraocular pressure was studied. Two different imaging and measurement devices were used (computer assisted planimetry and scanning laser ophthalmoscopy), and the results from each were compared. Measurements were made of the optic disc, optic cup, and neuroretinal rim areas, and the vertical optic disc diameter and cup/disc diameter ratio.

Results: Neuroretinal rim area declined at the rate of between 0.28% and 0.39% per year. Vertical optic cup diameter and optic cup area increased with age. The mean cup/disc diameter ratio increased by about 0.1 between the ages of 30 and 70 years.

Conclusions: Age related changes are significant and measurable, and should be taken into account when assessing the glaucoma suspect, and when estimating the rate of progression of glaucomatous optic neuropathy in patients with established disease.

Published courtesy of: Br J Ophthalmol 1997; 81: 840-5.

News and notices in Comm Eye Health Vol. 11 No. 26 1998 –