To evaluate the short-term changes in inner retinal function using the photopic negative response (PhNR) after intraocular pressure (IOP) reduction in glaucoma.
Forty-seven participants with glaucoma who were commencing a new or additional IOP-lowering therapy (treatment group) and 39 participants with stable glaucoma (control group) were recruited. IOP, visual field, retinal nerve fiber layer thickness, and electroretinograms (ERGs) were recorded at baseline and at a follow-up visit (3 ± 2 months). An optimized protocol developed for a portable ERG device was used to record the PhNR. The PhNR saturated amplitude (Vmax), Vmax ratio, semi-saturation constant (K), and slope of the Naka-Rushton function were analyzed.
A significant percentage reduction in IOP was observed in the treatment group (28 ± 3%) compared to the control group (2 ± 3%; P < 0.0001). For PhNR Vmax, there was no significant interaction (F1,83 = 2.099, P = 0.15), but there was a significant difference between the two time points (F1,83 = 5.689, P = 0.019). Post hoc analysis showed a significant difference between baseline and 3 months in the treatment group (mean difference, 1.23 µV; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.24-2.22) but not in the control group (0.30 µV; 95% CI, 0.78-1.38). K and slope were not significantly different in either group. Improvement beyond test-retest variability was seen in 17% of participants in the treatment group compared to 3% in the control group (P = 0.007, χ2 test).
The optimized protocol for measuring the PhNR detected short-term improvements in a proportion of participants following IOP reduction, although the majority showed no change.