To assess mitochondrial dysfunction in vivo in ocular hypertension (OHT) and primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) using retinal metabolic analysis.
Patients and Methods:
This was an observational, cross-sectional study performed from November 2015 to October 2016 at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai. Thirty-eight eyes with varying stages of POAG, 16 eyes with OHT, and 32 control eyes were imaged on a custom fundus camera modified to measure full retinal thickness fluorescence at a wavelength optimized to detect flavoprotein fluorescence (FPF). Optical coherence tomography was used to measure the retinal ganglion cell-plus layer (RGC+) thickness. Macular FPF and the ratio of macular FPF to RGC+ thickness were the primary outcome variables and were compared among the three groups using an age-adjusted linear regression model. A mixed-effects model was used to assess correlations between FPF variables and clinical characteristics.
Both macular FPF and the macular FPF/RGC+ thickness ratio were significantly increased in OHT compared with control eyes (P<0.05 and <0.01, respectively). In POAG eyes, macular FPF was not significantly increased compared with controls (P=0.24). However, the macular FPF/RGC+ thickness ratio in POAG eyes was significantly increased compared with controls (P<0.001). FPF was significantly correlated to age in POAG eyes.
Despite lacking clinical evidence of glaucomatous deterioration, OHT eyes displayed significantly elevated macular FPF, suggesting that mitochondrial dysfunction may be detected before structural changes visible on current clinical imaging. Our preliminary results suggest that macular FPF analysis may prove to be a useful tool in assessing and evaluating OHT and POAG eyes.