· Background: If, at the time of glaucoma diagnosis, the intraocular pressure (IOP) is higher and the initial field loss more advanced in glaucomatous eyes with than without exfoliation, the cause of the optic disc damage has been suggested to be the high IOP associated with the exfoliation syndrome (EXS). We decided to investigate whether EXS alone, without the contributory effect of measured raised IOP, is a risk factor for optic nerve damage. · Methods: Twenty-two non-glaucomatous, normotensive persons with clinically unilateral EXS were examined for IOP, visual fields (Octopus G1) and disc topography (Imagenet, Topcon) and followed up for 3 years. · Results: At the start, the paired exfoliative (E) and non-exfoliative (NE) eyes did not differ in IOP, disc, rim, or cup areas, or cup volumes. They differed in R/D (rim/disc) radius ratio in the inferior section of the optic disc. During the follow-up period, the IOP increased in the E and the NE eyes, and changes indicative of nerve fiber loss were measured in both eyes. In those (n=14) in whom the IOP in the two eyes was equal throughout the follow-up period, disc changes took place only in the E eye. · Conclusion: The exfoliative process in itself may be a risk factor for optic disc changes.