PURPOSE: To characterize the phenotype of retinal vessels using central retinal artery equivalent (CRAE), central retinal vein equivalent (CRVE), tortuosity and fractal dimension (FD) in primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) subjects.
METHODS: This prospective case-control multicentre study included 61 POAG subjects and 61 controls matched for age, systemic hypertension and body mass index. Fundus images of the right eye were acquired using a non-mydriatic camera. Central retinal artery equivalent (CRAE), CRVE, arteriole-to-venule ratio, FD and tortuosity of the vascular network were measured using VAMPIRE software (Vessel Assessment and Measurement Platform for Images of the Retina). Primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) patients underwent 24.2 sita-standard visual field and peri-papillary optical coherence tomography (OCT) examinations. Data were expressed as median and interquartile range (75-25th percentiles).
RESULTS: The control group was comparable to the POAG group for sex ratio, refraction and intraocular pressure. The mean CRAE and the mean CRVE were significantly lower in the POAG group than in the control group [150.5 (137.9; 157.1) μm versus 161.3 (154.0; 168.4) μm and 204.8 (190.1; 218.1) μm versus 233.5 (222.3; 246.9) μm, respectively; p < 0.001] and for fractal parameters as well. No significant difference was found for tortuosity between the two groups. There was a significant correlation between CRAE and retinal nerve fibre layer (RNFL) thickness (r = 0.27; p = 0.03). VAMPIRE parameters were not correlated with visual field indices.
CONCLUSION: Primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) was associated with a narrowing of arterial and venous retinal vessels, a higher arteriole-to-venule ratio and lower values of FD. The relationship between CRAE and RNFL thickness needs further investigation.