Although central retinal artery occlusion (CRAO) has its own defining pathomechanism and clinical characteristics, morphologic feature of the optic nerve head (ONH) during its later stage is not diagnostic, which makes it difficult to differentiate CRAO from other optic neuropathies. This cross-sectional study was performed to investigate the differences in the topographic morphology of the ONH in eyes with normal-tension glaucoma (NTG) and CRAO. Thirty-one eyes with NTG; 31 eyes with CRAO; and 31 healthy fellow eyes of the subjects with CRAO were included. ONH morphology was evaluated by measuring horizontal rim width (HRW), minimal rim width in the selected horizontal image (MRW), and lamina cribrosa curvature index (LCCI) in horizontal B-scan images obtained using enhanced depth-imaging optical coherence tomography. HRW was smaller and LCCI was larger in NTG eyes than in both CRAO and healthy fellow eyes (both P < 0.001), while both were comparable between CRAO and healthy fellow eyes. MRW differed significantly among the three groups, being smallest in NTG eyes followed by CRAO and healthy fellow eyes (P < 0.001). NTG and CRAO eyes with a similar degree of RNFL loss differed in ONH morphology, indicating that mechanisms of ONH damage differ between these two conditions.
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