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Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2007 Dec;245(12):1851-7. Epub 2007 Sep 28.

Diurnal variation of intraocular pressure in suspected glaucoma patients and their outcome.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.



A case-controlled prospective study was conducted to evaluate the diurnal variation of intraocular pressure (IOP); the mean, the amplitude of variation and the peak and trough times of pressure readings in the suspected open-angle glaucoma patients as compared with a control group. We also looked at the outcome of these suspects after diurnal variation of IOP measurements.


Diurnal variation of intraocular pressure was measured in 202 eyes of suspected open-angle glaucoma patients and 100 control eyes, at 4-hourly intervals for 24 hours (phasing). Based on the phasing results, optic disc changes and visual field defects, the patients were diagnosed as primary open angle glaucoma (POAG), normal tension glaucoma (NTG), ocular hypertension (OHT), or physiologic cup (PC), or still remained as glaucoma suspects due to inconclusive diagnosis. The last group (glaucoma suspects) was then followed up 6-monthly for their eventual outcome.


The highest percentage of suspected glaucoma patients had peak (maximum) readings in the mid-morning (10-11 A.M.) and trough (minimum) readings after midnight (2-3 A.M.); the highest percentage of control group had peak readings in the late evening (6-7 P.M.) and trough readings after midnight (2-3 A.M.). The mean amplitude of variance was 6 mm Hg in suspected glaucoma group and 4 mm Hg in the control group. After 'phasing', 18.8% of the suspected glaucoma patients were diagnosed as POAG, 16.8% as NTG, 5% as OHT, and 28.7% as physiologic cup; 30.9% remained as glaucoma suspects. After 4 years follow-up, 70% of the glaucoma suspects still remained as glaucoma suspects, 6.7% developed NTG and another 6.7% POAG; 16.6% were normal.


Serial measurement of IOP ( phasing) in a 24-hour period is still needed, in order not to miss the peak and the trough IOP readings in suspected open-angle glaucoma patients, which helps in better management of glaucoma. Among 30.9% of patients who remained as glaucoma suspects after the initial phasing, 13.4% developed NTG/POAG over a period of 4 years.

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