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April 1990

Prevalence and Significance of Optic Disc Hemorrhage in a Longitudinal Study of Glaucoma

Arch Ophthalmol. 1990;108(4):545-550. doi:10.1001/archopht.1990.01070060093056

• We determined the prevalence of hemorrhage within 1 disc diameter of the optic nerve head by masked examination of stereoscopic color and red-free fundus photographs in a multiyear study of 1123 patients. At the first (baseline) examination, disc hemorrhages were present in none of the normal subjects (0 of 661), 0.44% (6/1377) of "glaucoma suspect" subjects, and 2.44% (3/123) of glaucomatous eyes. Disc hemorrhage prevalence in glaucomatous eyes was significantly higher than in normal or glaucoma suspect eyes. Glaucoma suspect eyes with disc hemorrhage, compared with matched suspect eyes without disc hemorrhage, had a larger mean vertical cup-disc ratio, an increased rate of nerve fiber layer atrophy 1 year following disc hemorrhage, and a higher rate of conversion to initial visual field loss (numerically higher conversion though not statistically significant). While the number of eyes with disc hemorrhages in this study is small, in a patient with glaucoma or ocular hypertension, disc hemorrhage appears to be associated with a greater likelihood of ongoing damage. The low disc hemorrhage prevalence in an unselected population limits its usefulness as a screening tool for glaucoma.