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J Cataract Refract Surg. 2009 Sep;35(9):1623-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrs.2009.05.015.

Incorporating corneal pachymetry into the management of glaucoma.

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  • 1Anatomical-Clinical Laboratory for Functional Diagnosis and Treatment of Glaucoma and Neuroophthalmology, Clinica Oculistica, Department of Neurological Sciences, Ophthalmology, Genetic, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy.


Intraocular pressure (IOP) results from a dynamic balance between aqueous humor formation and outflow. The simplest technique to measure IOP is indentation tonometry. Another technique is applanation. These methods are related to the elasticity of the eye, which mainly depends on its thickness and hysteresis. For several decades, Goldmann applanation tonometry has been the most accepted method of measuring IOP; the Goldmann tonometer is still used in all important trials. The relationship between IOP values and central corneal thickness (CCT) is well known; Goldmann stated that this relationship only holds for an average corneal thickness of 520 microm measured by optical pachymetry. The Ocular Hypertension Treatment Study (OHTS) showed that CCT is an important risk factor for a change from ocular hypertension to primary open-angle glaucoma. In a multivariate model that included IOP, CCT was the most powerful component of the predictive model. In the Early Manifest Glaucoma Trial (EMGT) with an 11-year follow-up, CCT was a significant predictive factor for glaucoma progression in patients with higher baseline IOP but not in those with lower baseline IOP. Clinical trials such as the OHTS and EMGT cannot prove that CCT is linked to a risk for glaucoma on a biological level. Thus, in eyes with glaucoma, IOP must be treated because it has a significant influence on progression of glaucoma, regardless of the baseline IOP and CCT.

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