The relationship between retinal ganglion cell function and retinal nerve fiber thickness in early glaucoma

Lori M. Ventura, Nancy Sorokac, Roosevelt De Los Santos, William J. Feuer, Vittorio Porciatti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


PURPOSE. To compare relative reduction of retinal ganglion cell (RGC) function and retinal neurofiber layer (RNFL) thickness in early glaucoma by means of ready-state pattern electroretinogram (PERG) and optical coherence tomography (OCT), respectively. METHODS. Eighty-four persons with suspected glaucoma due to disc abnormalities (GS: mean age 56.6 ± 13.8 years, standard automated perimetry [SAP] mean deviation [MD] -0.58 ± 1.34 dB) and 34 patients with early manifest glaucoma (EMG, mean age 65.9 ± 10.7 years, SAP MD -2.7 ± 4.5 dB) were tested with PERG and OCT. Both GS and EMG patients had small refractive errors, corrected visual acuity ≥ 20/25, and no systemic or retinal disease other than glaucoma. RESULTS. MDs from age-predicted normal values were larger for PERG amplitude (GS: -1.113 dB; EMG: -2.352 dB) compared with the PERG-matched RNFL thickness (GS: -0.217 dB; EMG: -0.725 dB). Deviations exceeding the lower 95% tolerance intervals of the normal population were more frequent for PERG amplitude (GS: 26%; EMG: 56%) than PERG-matched RNFL thickness (GS: 6%; EMG: 29%). CONCLUSIONS. In early glaucoma, reduction in RGC electrical activity exceeds the proportion expected from lost RGC axons, suggesting that a population of viable RGCs in the central retina is dysfunctional. By combining PERG and OCT it is, in principle, possible to obtain unique information on reduced responsiveness of viable RGCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3904-3911
Number of pages8
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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