ABSTRACT: Background: in Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy, increased optic nerve cupping has been reported by several authors. Recently, a mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutation at nucleotide 11778 typically associated with Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) was identified in a patient treated for glaucoma but lacking typical signs of LHON. The question arises: should all normal-tension glaucoma patients be further evaluated for LHON? Methods: we screened 54 unselected patients with normal-tension glaucoma (age range 20-96 years, 16 men and 38 women) for the primary mtDNA LHON mutations at nucleotides 3460, 11778 and 14484. Results: none of the patients harboured the mtDNA mutations at nucleotides 3460, 11778 or 14484 (95% confidence intervals for each mutation ranged from 0% to 5.3%). Conclusions: primary LHON mtDNA mutations are rare or absent in unselected normal-tension glaucoma patients. Therefore, unselected normal-tension glaucoma patients should not be screened for these mutations. It is probable that only normal-tension glaucoma patients with atypical features (rapid progression, early deep central scotoma, pallor of neuroretinal rim, elevated disc, peripapillary teleangiectasia) or a positive family history of visual loss compatible with a matrilinear transmission should be further evaluated.
Albrecht von Graæes Archiv für Ophthalmologie 05/2001; 239(6):437-440. · 2.17 Impact Factor