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A Phenotype of Primary Open-angle Glaucoma with Systemic Vasospasm

Alizadeh, Reza, MD1; Vickers, Laura, MD1; Hirunpatravong, Pradtana, MD1; Romero, Pablo, MD1; Lin, Mark C.1; Sharifipour, Farideh, MD2; Caprioli, Joseph, MD1

doi: 10.1097/IJG.0000000000001083
Original Study: PDF Only

Purpose: Primary open angle glaucoma (POAG) patients constitute a heterogeneous group. Identification of phenotypic subtypes among these patients may provide a deeper understanding of the disease and aid associations with genotypes. We describe a phenotype of POAG patients associated with a constellation of systemic disorders; patients with this phenotype appear to be vulnerable to optic nerve damage at low intraocular pressures.

Materials and Methods: In this retrospective study, we evaluated the medical records of active Jules Stein Eye Institute glaucoma patients from January 1996 to January 2017 and included subjects with POAG, acquired pits of the optic nerve (APON) and at least one of the following: systolic blood pressure persistently ≤100▒mmHg, history of migraine headaches or migraine variant, and Raynaud’s syndrome.

Results: Of 87 patients (125 eyes) with APON, 37 patients (55 eyes) met the study criteria. Thirty-four patients were female (92%). The median age at the time of diagnosis was 55 years. Nineteen patients (73%) had low systolic blood pressures, same number had Raynaud’s syndrome and 25 (68%) had a history of migraine.

Conclusions: We describe a POAG subtype with APON and systemic vascular instability, predominantly female in their sixth decade of life who demonstrate progressive glaucomatous visual field damage at low intraocular pressure. We suggest that this clinical picture represents an important phenotype of POAG, and that identification and further study of it will help guide diagnosis and development of individualized treatments.

1Glaucoma Division, Jules Stein Eye Institute, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, California

2Department of Ophthalmology, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran

This study was supported in part by unrestricted research grants from Research to Prevent Blindness (New York, NY), and the Simms/Mann Family Foundation Los Angeles, CA.

Disclosure: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Joseph Caprioli, MD, Stein Eye Institute, Glaucoma Division, David Geffen School of Medicine, 100 Stein Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90095, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) (e-mail:

Received April 10, 2018

Accepted July 21, 2018

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