PURPOSE: To evaluate the relationship between visual function and retinal nerve fiber layer measurements obtained with scanning laser polarimetry and optical coherence tomography in a masked, prospective trial. METHODS: Consecutive normal, ocular hypertensive, and glaucomatous subjects who met inclusion and exclusion criteria were evaluated. Complete ophthalmologic examination, disk photography, scanning laser polarimetry, optical coherence tomography, and automated achromatic perimetry were performed. RESULTS: Seventy-eight eyes of 78 patients (17 normal, 23 ocular hypertensive, and 38 glaucomatous) were enrolled (mean age, 56.8 ± 11.5 years; range, 26 to 75 years). Eyes with glaucoma had significantly greater neural network scores on scanning laser polarimetry and lower maximum modulation, ellipse modulation, and mean retinal nerve fiber layer thickness measured with optical coherence tomography compared with normal and ocular hypertensive eyes, respectively (all P < .005). Significant associations were observed between neural network number (r = -.51, r = .03), maximum modulation (r = .39, r = -.32), ellipse modulation (r = .36, r = -.28), and optical coherence tomography-generated retinal nerve fiber layer thickness (r = .68, r = -.59) and visual field mean deviation and corrected pattern standard deviation, respectively. All scanning laser polarimetry parameters were significantly associated with optical coherence tomography-generated retinal nerve fiber layer thickness. CONCLUSION: Optical coherence tomography and scanning laser polarimetry were capable of differentiating glaucomatous from nonglaucomatous populations in this cohort; however considerable measurement overlap was observed among normal, ocular hypertensive, and glaucomatous eyes. Retinal nerve fiber layer structural measurements demonstrated good correlation with visual function, and retinal nerve fiber layer thickness by optical coherence tomography correlated with retardation measurements by scanning laser polarimetry. (C) 2000 by Elsevier Science Inc.
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