Purpose: The current study is designed to determine the effect of light scattering (simulated cataract) on glaucomatous visual fields. Methods: Twelve patients with relative scotomas caused by glaucoma underwent the 30-2 threshold test with the Humphrey Visual Field Analyzer twice: once with and once without having a light-diffusing piece of ground glass in front of the eye, which, in previous experiments, has been shown to decrease perimetric threshold by 4.4 decibels (dB) in normal eyes. As controls, 12 patients underwent the same examination with and without a piece of clear glass in front of the eye. In each pair of fields, five points were analyzed within the relative scotoma and compared with five points in a normal area of the opposite hemifield. Results: The diffusing ground glass produced a mean decrease of perimetric threshold of 5.7 dB (standard deviation [SD] = 3.3 dB) within the area of relative scotoma compared with 6.1 dB (SD = 2.4 dB) within the normal area and 4.4 dB (SD = 2.25 dB) at the fovea. The differences between means were not statistically significant. In addition, the diffusing glass did not affect the corrected pattern SD (CPSD) index (6.5 dB with the diffuser and 6.5 dB without). Conclusion: Light scattering depresses the glaucomatous visual field diffusely. Relative glaucomatous scotomas and normal areas are depressed equally, expressed as change in decibel of sensitivity. Therefore, in following patients with cataracts and glaucoma, depression of threshold sensitivity in glaucomatous areas out of proportion to normal areas should not be attributed to the light-scattering effect of the cataract, but rather to possible worsening of glaucomatous damage.
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