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Juxtapapillary Deep-Layer Microvasculature Dropout and Retinal Nerve Fiber Layer Thinning in Glaucoma.

  • Author(s): Kwon, Ji Min;
  • Weinreb, Robert N;
  • Zangwill, Linda M;
  • Suh, Min Hee
  • et al.

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We sought to characterize juxtapapillary (JP) and non-JP microvasculature dropout in patients with primary open-angle glaucoma and to compare their rate of retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thinning.


Retrospective cohort study.


A total of 141 eyes with primary open-angle glaucoma with ≥4 serial optical coherence tomography (OCT) images after initial OCT angiography for ≥2 years were included. Based on OCT angiography imaging, the 3 groups were matched by age and visual field mean deviation: JP group (parapapillary deep-layer microvasculature dropout in contact with the optic disc boundary, n = 47), non-JP group (dropout not reaching the optic disc boundary, n = 47), and no-dropout group (lacking the dropout, n = 47). The RNFL thinning rate was compared among the 3 groups.


The rate of RNFL thinning tended to be fastest in the JP group followed by the non-JP group and no-dropout group in all areas except the temporal and nasal sectors. Post hoc analysis revealed that the JP group had significantly faster RNFL thinning than did the no-dropout group in the global area and the inferotemporal and inferonasal sectors (P < .05). When subgroup analysis was performed for subjects in which the main sector of dropout was the inferotemporal sector, the JP group had significantly faster RNFL thinning than the other 2 groups in the corresponding inferotemporal sector (P < .001).


Eyes with JP microvasculature dropout showed faster RNFL thinning than eyes without dropout. These findings suggest that deep-layer microvasculature dropout, especially in contact with the optic disc boundary, is associated with rapid glaucoma progression.

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