Background/aims: In normal tension glaucoma (NTG) factors other than raised intraocular pressure have a role in the pathogenesis of the optic neuropathy. Because particular apolipoprotein E (ApoE) gene polymorphisms have been associated with cell death and survival in neurological degenerative diseases, the purpose of this study was to determine the ApoE allele frequencies in patients with normal tension glaucoma. Methods: The apolipoprotein E genotype of 155 patients with normal tension glaucoma was compared to that of 349 non-affected, control subjects from the same geographical area. A similar comparison was made between 53 patients with normal tension glaucoma who demonstrated progressive visual field loss, and control subjects. The frequencies of genotypes was compared with the χ2 test and Mantel-Haenszel coefficent. Results: There was no significant difference in the frequency of ApoE alleles or genotypes in the normal tension glaucoma population compared to the control group. The ApoE alleles and genotypes in NTG patients with progressive disease were not different from the control group. Conclusion: ApoE gene polymorphisms are not linked to normal tension glaucoma, suggesting that this gene does not have a role in the pathogenesis of optic neuropathy in this disease.