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Combining optical coherence tomography with visual field data to rapidly detect disease progression in glaucoma: A diagnostic accuracy study

Garway-Heath, D. F., Zhu, H., Cheng, Q. , Morgan, K., Frost, C., Crabb, D. P. ORCID: 0000-0001-8754-3902, Ho, T. A. & Agiomyrgiannakis, Y. (2018). Combining optical coherence tomography with visual field data to rapidly detect disease progression in glaucoma: A diagnostic accuracy study. Health Technology Assessment, 22(4), doi: 10.3310/hta22040


Background: Progressive optic nerve damage in glaucoma results in vision loss, quantifiable with visual field (VF) testing. VF measurements are, however, highly variable, making identification of worsening vision (‘progression’) challenging. Glaucomatous optic nerve damage can also be measured with imaging techniques such as optical coherence tomography (OCT).

Objective: To compare statistical methods that combine VF and OCT data with VF-only methods to establish whether or not these allow (1) more rapid identification of glaucoma progression and (2) shorter or smaller clinical trials.

Design: Method ‘hit rate’ (related to sensitivity) was evaluated in subsets of the United Kingdom Glaucoma Treatment Study (UKGTS) and specificity was evaluated in 72 stable glaucoma patients who had 11 VF and OCT tests within 3 months (the RAPID data set). The reference progression detection method was based on Guided Progression Analysis™ (GPA) Software (Carl Zeiss Meditec Inc., Dublin, CA, USA). Index methods were based on previously described approaches [Analysis with Non-Stationary Weibull Error Regression and Spatial enhancement (ANSWERS), Permutation analyses Of Pointwise Linear Regression (PoPLR) and structure-guided ANSWERS (sANSWERS)] or newly developed methods based on Permutation Test (PERM), multivariate hierarchical models with multiple imputation for censored values (MaHMIC) and multivariate generalised estimating equations with multiple imputation for censored values (MaGIC).

Setting: Ten university and general ophthalmology units (UKGTS) and a single university ophthalmology unit (RAPID).

Participants: UKGTS participants were newly diagnosed glaucoma patients randomised to intraocular pressure-lowering drops or placebo. RAPID participants had glaucomatous VF loss, were on treatment and were clinically stable.

Interventions: 24-2 VF tests with the Humphrey Field Analyzer and optic nerve imaging with time-domain (TD) Stratus OCT™ (Carl Zeiss Meditec Inc., Dublin, CA, USA).

Main outcome measures: Criterion hit rate and specificity, time to progression, future VF prediction error, proportion progressing in UKGTS treatment groups, hazard ratios (HRs) and study sample size.

Results: Criterion specificity was 95% for all tests; the hit rate was 22.2% for GPA, 41.6% for PoPLR, 53.8% for ANSWERS and 61.3% for sANSWERS (all comparisons p ≤ 0.042). Mean survival time (weeks) was 93.6 for GPA, 82.5 for PoPLR, 72.0 for ANSWERS and 69.1 for sANSWERS. The median prediction errors (decibels) when the initial trend was used to predict the final VF were 3.8 (5th to 95th percentile 1.7 to 7.6) for PoPLR, 3.0 (5th to 95th percentile 1.5 to 5.7) for ANSWERS and 2.3 (5th to 95th percentile 1.3 to 4.5) for sANSWERS. HRs were 0.57 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.34 to 0.90; p = 0.016] for GPA, 0.59 (95% CI 0.42 to 0.83; p = 0.002) for PoPLR, 0.76 (95% CI 0.56 to 1.02; p = 0.065) for ANSWERS and 0.70 (95% CI 0.53 to 0.93; p = 0.012) for sANSWERS. Sample size estimates were not reduced using methods including OCT data. PERM hit rates were between 8.3% and 17.4%. Treatment effects were non-significant in MaHMIC and MaGIC analyses; statistical significance was altered little by incorporating imaging.

Limitations: TD OCT is less precise than current imaging technology; current OCT technology would likely perform better. The size of the RAPID data set limited the precision of criterion specificity estimates.

Conclusions: The sANSWERS method combining VF and OCT data had a higher hit rate and identified progression more quickly than the reference and other VF-only methods, and produced more accurate estimates of the progression rate, but did not increase treatment effect statistical significance. Similar studies with current OCT technology need to be undertaken and the statistical methods need refinement.

Publication Type: Article
Subjects: R Medicine > RE Ophthalmology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Optometry & Visual Sciences
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