Purpose To compare the rate of glaucoma structural and functional progression in American and Korean cohorts. Design Retrospective longitudinal study. Participants Three hundred thirteen eyes from 189 glaucoma and glaucoma suspects, followed up for an average of 38 months. Methods All subjects were examined semiannually with visual field (VF) testing and spectral-domain optical coherence tomography. All subjects had 5 or more reliable visits. Main Outcome Measurements The rates of change of retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness, cup-to-disc (C/D) ratios, and VF mean deviation (MD) were compared between the cohorts. Variables affecting the rate of change for each parameter were determined, including ethnicity, refraction, baseline age and disease severity, disease subtype (high- vs. normal-tension glaucoma), clinical diagnosis (glaucoma vs. glaucoma suspect), and the interactions between variables. Results The Korean cohort predominantly demonstrated normal-tension glaucoma, whereas the American cohort predominantly demonstrated high-tension glaucoma. Cohorts had similar VF parameters at baseline, but the Korean eyes had significantly thicker mean RNFL and larger cups. Korean glaucoma eyes showed a faster thinning of mean RNFL (mean, -0.71 μm/year vs. -0.24 μm/year; P < 0.01). There were no detectable differences in the rate of change between the glaucoma cohorts for C/D ratios and VF MD and for all parameters in glaucoma suspect eyes. Different combinations of the tested variables significantly impacted the rate of change. Conclusions Ethnicity, baseline disease severity, disease subtype, and clinical diagnosis should be considered when comparing glaucoma progression studies.
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