In glaucoma, depression and disturbed sleep has been associated with degeneration of the intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells, that mediate non-image forming effects of light such as regulation of circadian rhythm, alertness and mood. In this study we assessed associations between seasonal mood and behavior variation and retinal ganglion cell damage in outpatients with glaucoma.
The seasonal pattern assessment questionnaire was administered to outpatients with glaucoma. Data on visual field defects identified by autoperimetry and retinal nerve fiber layer thickness visualized by ocular coherence tomography were collected from patient charts. The correlations between seasonality and retinal damage were tested and the adjusted effects of retinal function on seasonality were evaluated in a linear regression model.
In total, 113 persons completed the questionnaire. Of these, 4% fulfilled the criteria for seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and 8% for subsyndromal seasonal affective disorder (sSAD). Mean global seasonal score was 4.3. There were no significant correlations between seasonality and either visual field or retinal nerve fiber layer thickness. In the adjusted analysis there were trends toward differential effects of visual field on seasonality in subgroups with different sex and type of glaucoma.
There were no strong associations between seasonality and visual field or retinal nerve fiber layer thickness. Sex, age and glaucoma subtype may modify light effects on complex regulatory systems.