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Echographic Measurement of Optic Nerve Thickness Correlated With Neuroretinal Rim Area and Visual Field Defect in Glaucoma

American Journal of Ophthalmology
DOI: 10.1016/s0002-9394(14)72111-7


Purpose To determine whether echographic measurements of the pial diameter of the optic nerve are significantly correlated with glaucomatous changes of the optic disk and retinal nerve fiber layer. Methods In 31 patients with primary open-angle glaucoma and 16 normal control subjects, optic nerve thickness was determined by measuring the maximal pial diameter of the optic nerve using standardized A-scan echography. The optic disks were morphometrically examined using color stereo photographs, and the retinal nerve fiber layer was assessed using wide-angle red-free fundus photographs. Results Optic nerve thickness as measured echographically decreased significantly (P < .001) with decreasing neuroretinal rim area, diminishing visibility of the retinal nerve fiber layer, narrowing of the retinal arterioles, enlarging parapapillary atrophy, and increasing mean visual field defect. In an intraindividual bilateral comparison, side differences in the optic nerve thickness were significantly correlated with side differences in neuroretinal rim area (P < .0001), diameter of retinal arterioles (P = .003), and visual field defect (P < .0001). In the differentiation of normal and glaucomatous eyes, sensitivity and specificity were higher for echographic measurements of the optic nerve thickness than for parapapillary atrophy and diameter of retinal arterioles but worse than for determination of the neuroretinal rim area. Conclusions Echographic measurements of optic nerve thickness are significantly correlated with glaucomatous changes of the optic disk and retinal nerve fiber layer. In patients with opaque media, echographic measurement of optic nerve thickness may be helpful in distinguishing among normal eyes, eyes with medium advanced glaucoma, and eyes with markedly progressed glaucoma.

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