Evaluation of coexisting optic nerve head drusen and glaucoma with optical coherence tomography

S. Roh, R. J. Noecker, J. S. Schuman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Optic nerve head drusen often make evaluation of the nerve head difficult to interpret. In addition, visual field defects are known to occur in patients with optic disk drusen, resembling glaucomatous damage. The authors report two cases of coincident optic nerve head drusen and glaucoma, in which the use of optical coherence tomography (OCT) in evaluating the nerve fiber layer was beneficial. Participants: Two patients with both optic nerve head drusen and glaucoma, one with primary open angle glaucoma, the other with pseudoexfoliation glaucoma were evaluated. Both patients had asymmetric optic disk drusen, with clinically visible drusen only in one eye. Intervention: Ophthalmologic examination, color and red-free photography, automated Humphrey visual field testing and OCT were performed. Results: Nerve fiber layer loss as measured by OCT was found to be greater than expected by the appearance of the optic nerve head and red-free photography, with visual fields consistent with findings in case 1. In case 2, visual fields were full, despite nerve fiber layer thinning seen by OCT and red- free photography. Conclusions: There can be significant nerve fiber layer thinning in patients with both glaucoma and optic disk drusen, despite the appearance of the optic nerve head in these patients. The cup margin may be obscured by the drusen, giving rise to a falsely full-appearing disk. In such cases, OCT may provide a useful means to quantitatively measure the nerve fiber layer thickness and to aid in the management of these patients by detecting nerve fiber layer thinning earlier than would otherwise be possible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1138-1144
Number of pages7
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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