Subfoveal choroidal blood flow and central retinal function in early glaucoma


Dario Marangoni, MD
Institute of Ophthalmology
Catholic University of Sacred Heart
Largo F. Vito 1
00168 Rome
Tel: 0039 06 30154929
Fax: 0039 06 3051274


Purpose:  To assess subfoveal choroidal blood flow (ChBF) in patients with early manifest glaucoma (EMG) and to compare blood flow with functional measures of central retinal integrity, standard automated perimetry (SAP) and pattern electroretinogram (PERG).

Methods:  Subfoveal ChBF was determined by confocal, real-time laser Doppler flowmetry in 24 patients with EMG [>−6 dB mean deviation (MD), age range: 29–77 years, visual acuity: 20/25–20/20] and 23 age-matched control subjects. All patients had a therapeutically (topical beta-blockers with or without prostaglandin analogues) controlled intraocular pressure (IOP < 20 mmHg). Subfoveal choroidal blood volume (ChBVol), velocity (ChBVel) and ChBF were determined as the average of three 60 second recordings. In all patients and controls, the PERG and SAP (Humphrey 30-2), following standardized protocols, were also recorded.

Results:  In patients with EMG, reductions in average ChBVel and ChBF were roughly equal, respectively, by 30% and 33.4% (p < 0.01), when compared to control subjects, so that there was no significant difference in ChBVol between the two groups. Pattern electroretinogram amplitudes were reduced by 46% (p < 0.01) in patients compared to controls. No correlation was found between any of the ChBF parameters and PERG amplitude, or Humphrey 30-2 MD and pattern standard deviation.

Conclusion:  The results suggest a significant alteration of both ChBVel and ChBF in EMG, which does not appear to be associated with the severity of central retinal dysfunction. These findings may contribute to a better understanding of the pathophysiology of early glaucomatous damage in EMG and have implications for the treatment of this pathologic condition.