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Age-related changes in the peripheral retinal nerve fiber layer thickness

Authors Hondur G, Göktaş E, Al-Aswad L, Tezel G

Received 18 November 2017

Accepted for publication 20 January 2018

Published 26 February 2018 Volume 2018:12 Pages 401—409


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Gözde Hondur,1,2 Emre Göktaş,1 Lama Al-Aswad,1 Gülgün Tezel1

1Department of Ophthalmology, Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY, USA; 2Department of Ophthalmology, Ulucanlar Training and Research Hospital, Ankara, Turkey

This pilot cross-sectional study aimed to determine age-related changes of the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness in retinal periphery by swept-source optical coherence tomography-based analysis.
Methods: Forty eyes of 40 healthy subjects were studied in three age groups, group 1 (20–40 years, n=15), group 2 (41–60 years, n=14), and group 3 (≥61 years, n=11). Wide-angle swept-source optical coherence tomography scans, including the optic disc and macula, were montaged with the nasal peripheral optical coherence tomography images acquired with a contralateral gaze. The peripapillary and peripheral RNFL thickness values were obtained for nasal and temporal sides. The ratio of peripheral-to-peripapillary RNFL thickness was also calculated for these sectors.
Results: We detected a significantly thinner RNFL in older than younger subjects at a distance of 6 mm from the optic disc on nasal and temporal sides (P<0.001). An age-related reduction in peripheral-to-peripapillary RNFL thickness ratios (P<0.001 and P<0.02 for nasal and temporal sides, respectively) was also detected.
Conclusion: The age-related decline should be taken into consideration when determining the glaucoma-related alterations in peripheral RNFL thickness. Continued analysis in patients with ocular hypertension and glaucoma should help determine whether RNFL in the periphery with lower nerve tissue reserve might be more susceptible to injury, whether injury to the peripheral RNFL might be easier to detect, and/or whether analysis of the peripheral RNFL thickness could improve clinical diagnosis and follow-up of glaucoma.

Keywords: age, glaucoma, retinal nerve fiber layer thickness, swept-source optical coherence tomography

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