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Gareth Lingham, Samantha Sze-Yee Lee, Jason Charng, Antony Clark, Fred K. Chen, Seyhan Yazar, David A. Mackey; Distribution and Classification of Peripapillary Retinal Nerve Fiber Layer Thickness in Healthy Young Adults. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2021;10(9):3. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.10.9.3.
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To report the distribution of peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness in healthy young adults, investigate factors associated with RNFL thickness, and report the percentage of outside normal limits (ONL) and borderline (BL) RNFL thickness classifications based on the optical coherence tomography (OCT) manufacturer reference database.
Participants of the Raine Study Generation 2 cohort (aged 18–22 years) underwent spectral domain OCT imaging with an RNFL circle scan. Eyes with inadequate scans or optic nerve pathology were excluded. Linear mixed models were used to analyze associations.
Data were available for 1288 participants (mean age, 20.0 years). Mean RNFL thicknesses in right and left eyes, respectively, were global = 100.5 µm, 100.3 µm (P = 0.03); temporal = 73.1 µm, 68.9 µm (P < 0.001); superotemporal = 140.6 µm, 136.3 µm (P < 0.001); superonasal = 104.9 µm, 115.1 µm (P < 0.001); nasal = 79.7 µm, 79.1 µm (P = 0.09); inferonasal = 109.8 µm, 111.5 µm (P < 0.001); and inferotemporal = 143.2 µm, 143.6 µm (P = 0.51). Longer axial length was associated with thinner RNFL globally, nasally, inferotemporally, superotemporally, superonasally, and inferonasally, as well as thicker RNFL temporally. The prevalence of ONL and BL classifications was generally higher than the expected rates of 1% and 4%, respectively, in temporal sectors and lower than expected in nasal sectors. The prevalence of global BL classifications was lower than expected (right eye, 2.3%; left eye, 2.6%).
Measured RNFL thickness differs with axial length and between right and left eyes. More reference data are needed to better define the normal limits of RNFL variation in different populations.
This study provides an improved understanding of normal variation in RNFL thickness in young adults.
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