Open-angle glaucoma (OAG) is characterized by optic nerve fiber atrophy and deterioration of the visual field, corresponding to damage to the optic nerve head. Intraocular pressure (IOP) is currently the only evidence-based, treatable risk factor for OAG. However, normal-tension glaucoma, the most common type of OAG in Asia, is a type of glaucoma with an unclear pathogenesis. Glaucoma is suspected to be a multifactorial disease with IOP-dependent and IOP-independent risk factors, including decreased ocular blood flow (OBF), oxidative stress, decreased axoplasmic flow, and genetic background. A number of epidemiological studies have generated strong evidence that OBF may be an especially important risk factor for the progression of glaucoma. Recent innovations in laser speckle flowgraphy and optical coherence tomography-based angiography have allowed us to noninvasively monitor changes in the microcirculation of the optic nerve head with high reproducibility. Laser speckle flowgraphy-derived measurement parameters include mean blur rate and pulse wave form parameters, whereas the main optical coherence tomography angiography-derived parameter is the vessel index. Decreases in these parameters are associated with the severity of glaucomatous damage, and changes are detectible even in the earliest, preperimetric stage of glaucoma. In the future, OBF analysis may improve significantly because of continuing progress in the development of the relevant instruments. This review will summarize possible connections between systemic and OBF abnormalities and OAG, describe the scientific rationale for these connections, and discuss their potential implications. Thus, this review will summarize the role of OBF in glaucoma pathogenesis and discuss the wide range of IOP-independent risk factors.
- Blood flow
- Oxidative stress