Purpose: The presently available scanning laser polarimeter (SLP) has a fixed corneal compensator (FCC) that neutralizes corneal birefringence only in eyes with birefringence that matches the population mode. A prototype variable corneal compensator (VCC) provides neutralization of individual corneal birefringence based on individual macular retardation patterns. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relative ability of the SLP with the FCC and with the VCC to discriminate between normal and glaucomatous eyes. Design: Prospective, nonrandomized, comparative case series. Participants: Algorithm-generating set consisting of 56 normal eyes and 55 glaucomatous eyes and an independent data set consisting of 83 normal eyes and 56 glaucomatous eyes. Testing: Sixteen retardation measurements were obtained with the SLP with the FCC and the VCC from all subjects. Main Outcome Measures: Dependency of parameters on age, gender, ethnic origin, and eye side was sought. Logistic regression was used to evaluate how well the various parameters could detect glaucoma. Discriminant functions were generated, and the area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was determined. Results: Discrimination between normal and glaucomatous eyes on the basis of single parameters was significantly better with the VCC than with the FCC for 6 retardation parameters: nasal average (P = 0.0003), superior maximum (P = 0.0003), ellipse average (P = 0.002), average thickness (P = 0.003), superior average (P = 0.010), and inferior average (P = 0.010). Discriminant analysis identified the optimal combination of parameters for the FCC and for the VCC. When the discriminant functions were applied to the independent data set, areas under the ROC curve were 0.84 for the FCC and 0.90 for the VCC (P<0.021). When the discriminant functions were applied to a subset of patients with early visual field loss, areas under the ROC curve were 0.82 for the FCC and 0.90 for the VCC (P<0.016). Conclusion: Individual correction for corneal birefringence with the VCC significantly improved the ability of the SLP to distinguish between normal and glaucomatous eyes and enabled detection of patients with early glaucoma.
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