Glaucoma patients who are older (55+) or have abnormal levels of anticardiolipin antibody experience more rapid visual field loss than other patients with glaucoma, according to a study in the August 9 online edition of Archives of Ophthalmology.1 However, a modest reduction in IOP significantly reduced their visual field loss.

In this study, the researchers evaluated 216 participants with primary open-angle glaucoma to determine if rates of visual field change were affected by various demographic and systemic factors, such as age, female gender or abnormal anticardiolipin antibody level. Following baseline visual field measurements, the patients were given standard treatment for IOP reduction and their visual fields were re-evaluated every four months to assess progression.

At the end of the study, the researchers concluded that patients with abnormal levels of anticardiolipin antibodies or those of advanced age experienced the fastest rates of visual field decline.

Additionally, the researchers determined that a modest IOP reduction in these patients significantly reduced their rates of visual field loss.

In a related study published in the September issue of Ophthalmology, researchers in the Netherlands examined 6,630 patients with primary open-angle glaucoma for 10 years to investigate the influence of risk factors for open-angle glaucoma and better predict rates of visual field loss.2

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers determined that the development of glaucomatous visual field loss was associated with higher IOP, older age, high myopia, male gender, a positive family history of glaucoma, and a larger baseline vertical cup-to-disc ratio.

1. Chauhan BC, Mikelberg FS, Artes PH, et al. Canadian Glaucoma Study: 3. Impact of risk factors and intraocular pressure reduction on the rates of visual field change. Arch Ophthalmol. 2010 Aug 9. [Epub ahead of print]
2. Czudowska MA, Ramdas WD, Wolfs RC, et al. Incidence of glaucomatous visual field loss: A ten-year follow-up from the Rotterdam Study. Ophthalmology. 2010 Sep;117(9):1705-12.