In Normal Tension Glaucoma, Silent Cerebral Infarcts Linked to Visual Field Progression

July 7, 2009

In a study published in the July issue of the journal Ophthalmology, researchers report that silent cerebral infracts (SCI) may be an independent risk factor in patients with normal tension glaucoma (NTG).

The prospective cohort study contained 286 eyes from 286 NTG patients; 64 of the participants had SCI and 222 did not have SCI. The patients were followed for 36 months at 4 month intervals. The patients with SCI were significantly older compared to those patients who did not (72.4 versus 63.2 years, P<0.001).

The researchers found that SCI was present in 29.6% of subjects with field progression versus 15.3% of field-stable subjects (P = 0.004). A Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed that 65.6% of SCI+ versus 45.9% of SCI– patients showed progression (P = 0.003). The SCIs were more commonly located at the basal ganglia.

These results offer food for thought as to whether preventing the silent cerebral infracts may slow or stop the visual field progression in patients with NTG. More research hopefully will clarify this issue.

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