Purpose To examine the hypothesis that surgical intraocular pressure (IOP) reduction leads to enhancement of visual field (VF) sensitivity in glaucomatous eyes. Design Prospective case-control study. Methods Patients with uncontrolled IOP requiring trabeculectomy or aqueous drainage device were enrolled. Controls consisted of medically treated glaucoma patients with stable IOP and no change in medical therapy during follow-up. Two baseline preoperative VFs and 3 follow-up VF examinations at 1, 2, and 3 months postoperatively were used for analysis. The same number of VF examinations measured within an 18-month interval was used for control eyes. VF locations with significant change were defined as exceeding 95% test-retest confidence limits based upon the mean sensitivity using the 2 baseline VF exams. The number of significantly changing locations per eye and changes in mean and pattern standard deviation (PSD) from the mean baseline fields were compared between groups using a Poisson generalized estimating equation model. Results Thirty eyes of 30 surgically treated glaucoma patients and 41 eyes of 28 stable controls were enrolled. Postoperative IOP was decreased at follow-up 3 compared with baseline (P <.001) in the surgical eyes, but was similar in control eyes (P =.92). At follow-up 3, the number of test locations improving in central (P =.014) and peripheral (P =.019) VF locations was significantly greater in the surgical eyes. The number of eyes with improved PSD at follow-up 3 was significantly greater in the surgical eyes compared with controls (P =.02). Conclusions Short-term enhancement of central and peripheral VF sensitivity occurs after surgical reduction of IOP in glaucomatous eyes and may represent a potential biomarker for retinal ganglion cell response to therapeutic interventions in glaucoma.
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