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Arch Ophthalmol. 2000 Feb;118(2):235-45.

Swelling and loss of photoreceptors in chronic human and experimental glaucomas.

Author information

  • 1Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison 53792-3220, USA. tmnork@facstaff.wisc.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine whether outer retinal changes occur in chronic, presumed primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG).

METHODS:

The outer retinas from 128 human eyes with a diagnosis of chronic glaucoma (presumably POAG in most cases) and 90 control eyes were examined histologically by 3 masked observers for photoreceptor swelling and loss. Retinas from 9 rhesus monkeys with glaucoma induced experimentally by laser trabecular destruction were compared with 7 fellow (control) eyes. The mean pressure elevations in the eyes with laser trabecular destruction ranged from 26.6 to 53.6 mm Hg with durations varying from 7 to 33 weeks.

RESULTS:

Swelling of the red- and green-sensitive cones was observed in a statistically significantly greater proportion of human eyes with presumed POAG compared with the control eyes. Patchy loss of red/green cones and rods was also found in some of the glaucomatous retinas. In a subset of the human eyes with end-stage disease, cone swelling was a variable finding. Although no photoreceptor loss was found in the 9 monkey eyes with experimental glaucoma, 8 had swelling of their red/green cones that was remarkably similar to that seen in the human eyes. Swelling was not present in any of the control monkey eyes.

CONCLUSIONS:

The photoreceptors are affected by chronically elevated intraocular pressure.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE:

These findings may explain some of the abnormalities of color vision and the electrophysiological effects that have been observed in patients with POAG.

PMID:
10676789
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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