PURPOSE: To assess whether lamina cribrosa depth (LCD) reduction and the rate of change in LCD over time (ΔLCD/Δt) is associated with retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness and the rate of RNFL thinning over time (ΔRNFL/Δt) to test the hypothesis that, in a long term, RNFL thinning occurs irrespectively to the displacement of the lamina cribrosa following glaucoma surgery. METHODS: Twenty-nine primary open-angle glaucoma patients underwent glaucoma surgery. Sixteen patients underwent trabeculectomy and 13 patients undertook non-penetrating deep sclerectomy. Images of optic nerve head using spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) with enhanced depth imaging technology were obtained preoperatively, at one-, three-, six-month and follow-up postoperative visit from 12 to 29 months after surgery (1pv, 3pv, 6pv, and FUpv, respectively). Correspondingly, measurements of the circumpapillary RNFL thickness were acquired. RESULTS: Intraocular pressure decreased from 24.0±8.9 to 10.9±3.9mmHg at 6pv (P<0.001) and to 12.7±4.4mmHg at FUpv (P<0.001). LCD was reduced from 465.3±136.4μm to 402.9±126.4μm at 1pv (P<0.001) and maintained similar position at 6pv (394.3±118.4μm; P = 0.170 with respect to 1pv). A significant decrease in the LCD was noted at FUpv (342.8±90.3μm, P<0.001) with respect to 6pv. RNFL thickness increased significantly to 64.9±19.8μm at 1pv (P = 0.005) and subsequently decreased to baseline level at 3pv. Further statistically significant decrease in RNFL thickness with respect to previous visit was found at 6pv and at FUpv (56.4±15.6μm and 55.0±14.0μm, P = 0.023 and P = 0.045, respectively). A thinner RNFL thickness at FUpv was not related to the LCD at FUpv (P = 0.129) but was correlated with ΔLCD/Δt at FUpv (P = 0.003). The ΔRNFL/Δt at FUpv was statistically significantly correlated with ΔLCD/Δt at FUpv (P<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study that considers direct correlation between the rate of change in LCD with the rate of RNFL thinning over time. A thinner RNFL thickness following glaucoma surgery was associated with the rate of LCD reduction, not with position of the lamina cribrosa at the FUpv.
Department of Ophthalmology, Wroclaw Medical University, Wroclaw, Poland.