IMPORTANCE: Rapid vessel density loss during an initial follow-up period may be associated with the rates of visual field loss over time. OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the association between the rate of vessel density loss during initial follow-up and the rate of visual field loss during an extended follow-up period in patients suspected of having glaucoma and patients with primary open-angle glaucoma. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This retrospective cohort study assessed 124 eyes (86 with primary open-angle glaucoma and 38 suspected of having glaucoma) of 82 patients who were followed up at a tertiary glaucoma center for a mean of 4.0 years (95% CI, 3.9-4.1 years) from January 1, 2015, to February 29, 2020. Data analysis for the current study was undertaken in March 2021. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: The rate of vessel density loss was derived from macular whole-image vessel density values from 3 optical coherence tomography angiography scans early during the study. The rate of visual field loss was calculated from visual field mean deviation during the entire follow-up period after the first optical coherence tomography angiography visit. Linear mixed-effects models were used to estimate rates of change. RESULTS: A total of 124 eyes from 82 patients (mean [SD] age, 69.2 [10.9] years; 41 female [50.0%] and 41 male [50.0%]; and 20 African American [24.4%], 10 Asian [12.2%], 50 White [61.0%], and 2 other race or ethnicity [2.4%]) were assessed. The annual rate of vessel density change was -0.80% (95% CI, -0.88% to -0.72%) during a mean initial follow-up of 2.1 years (95% CI, 1.9-2.3 years). Eyes with annual rates of vessel density loss of -0.75% or greater (n = 62) were categorized as fast progressors, and eyes with annual rates of less than -0.75% (n = 62) were categorized as slow progressors. The annual rate of visual field loss was -0.15 dB (95% CI, -0.29 to -0.01 dB) for the slow optical coherence tomography angiography progressors and -0.43 dB (95% CI, -0.58 to -0.29 dB) for the fast optical coherence tomography angiography progressors (difference, -0.28 dB; 95% CI, -0.48 to -0.08 dB; P = .006). The fast optical coherence tomography angiography progressor group was associated with the faster overall rate of visual field loss in a multivariable model after adjusting to include concurrent visual field mean deviation rate (-0.17 dB; 95% CI, -0.33 to -0.01 dB; P = .04). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: The findings of this cohort study suggest that faster vessel density loss during an initial follow-up period was associated with faster concurrent and subsequent rates of visual field loss during an extended period.
Hamilton Glaucoma Center, Shiley Eye Institute, Viterbi Family Department of Ophthalmology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla.