IMPORTANCE: Certain features of the lamina cribrosa may be associated with increased risk of glaucoma progression. OBJECTIVES: To compare the rates of retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thinning in patients with open-angle glaucoma with or without lamina cribrosa (LC) defects and to evaluate factors associated with the rate of glaucoma progression in eyes with LC defects. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This longitudinal cohort study designed in September 2017 and conducted at a tertiary glaucoma center in California included 51 eyes of 43 patients with LC defects and 83 eyes of 68 patients without LC defects followed up for a mean (SD) of 3.5 (0.8) years from April 2012 to May 2017. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Focal LC defects were detected using swept-source optical coherence tomographic images. All participants underwent visual field testing and spectral-domain optical coherence tomography for RNFL thickness measurements every 6 months. Univariate and multivariable random-effects models were used to compare the rate of local and global RNFL loss. RESULTS: The mean (95% CI) age at baseline for individuals with LC defects was 69.5 (65.4 to 73.6) years, and for those without LC defects, it was 69.6 (67.2-72.0) years; 18 individuals (41%) with LC defects and 35 individuals (51%) without LC defects were men; 6 individuals (14%) with LC defects and 17 individuals (25%) without were African American. The mean (95% CI) rate of global RNFL loss in eyes with LC defects was 2-fold faster than that in eyes without LC defects (-0.91 [-1.20 to -0.62] vs -0.48 [-0.65 to -0.31] μm/y; difference, -0.43 [-0.76 to -0.09] μm/y; P = .01). The rate of RNFL thinning was faster in the LC defect sectors than that in the unaffected sectors (difference, -0.90 [95% CI, -1.68 to -0.12] μm/y, P = .02). Thinner corneal thickness was the only factor that was associated with a faster rate of RNFL loss in eyes with LC defects (β2 = -0.09 [95% CI, -0.14 to -0.04], P = .001). No association was found between mean intraocular pressure during follow-up and the mean rate of RNFL thinning in eyes with LC defects (β2, -0.05 [95% CI, -0.17 to 0.06], P = .36). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: These data suggest that LC defects are an independent risk factor for RNFL thinning and that glaucoma progression may correspond topographically to the LC defect location. Thinner corneal thickness in eyes with LC defects was associated with faster further glaucoma progression. In the management of open-angle glaucoma, LC findings may inform the likelihood and rate of glaucoma progression.