Optic disc drusen in patients diagnosed with normal tension glaucoma. Ahmadi et al. Acta Ophthalmologica

Ahmadi H, Fotesko K, Ba-Ali S, Hamann S, Kolko M. Optic disc drusen in patients diagnosed with normal tension glaucoma. Acta Ophthalmol, Nov 14. doi: 10.1111/aos.15286. Online ahead of print, 2022


Purpose: To investigate the prevalence of optic disc drusen (ODD) and optic nerve head (ONH) morphology in patients diagnosed with normal tension glaucoma (NTG).

Methods: In this prospective cross-sectional study, we included patients diagnosed with NTG from two glaucoma units. In both eyes, dense enhanced depth imaging optical coherence tomography volume scans of the ONH by means of standardized scanning guidelines were performed to examine for presence of ODD, and radial ONH scans were used for investigating parameters such as scleral canal diameter, cup/disc ratio and cup depth.

Results: We found ODD in 7 (3.6%) of 195 eyes, in 6 (6.1%) out of 98 patients diagnosed with NTG. The ODD were not ophthalmoscopically visible in five out of six patients. Eyes with ODD had lower cup/disc ratio, 0.44 ± 0.4 (p = 0.040), and less-prominent cup depth, 236.6 ± 204.4 μm (p = 0.041) compared to eyes without ODD, 0.81 ± 0.2 and 437.8 ± 139.1 μm, respectively. We found no significant difference in scleral canal diameter between the eyes without (1602.8 ± 193 μm) and those with ODD (1492 ± 123.4 μm, p = 0.057).

Conclusion: The prevalence of ODD in patients diagnosed with NTG is substantially higher than in the background population. A low cup/disc ratio correlates with ODD presence. Therefore, due to the challenges associated with NTG diagnosis, we recommend examining the deep layers of the ONH in NTG patients with a cup/disc ratio lower than 0.5 to avoid misdiagnosing ODD as NTG.

Keywords: normal tension glaucoma; optic disc drusen; optic nerve head drusen; optic neuropathies; optical coherence tomography.

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