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Sarah Tick, Florence Rossant, Itebeddine Ghorbel, Alain Gaudric, José-Alain Sahel, Philippe Chaumet-Riffaud, Michel Paques; Foveal Shape and Structure in a Normal Population. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(8):5105-5110. doi: 10.1167/iovs.10-7005.
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The shape of the human fovea presents important but still poorly characterized variations. In this study, the variability of the shape and structure of normal foveae were examined.
In a group of 110 eyes of 57 healthy adults, the shape and structure of the fovea were analyzed by automated segmentation of retinal layer on high-resolution optical coherence tomography scans. In an additional group of 10 normal eyes of 10 patients undergoing fluorescein angiography, the size of the foveal avascular zone (FAZ) was correlated to foveal shape.
From the thickest to the thinnest fovea, there was a structural continuum ranging from a shallow pit with continuity of the inner nuclear layer (INL) over the center (seven eyes; 6.7%), to a complete separation of inner layers overlying a flat and thinner central outer nuclear layer (ONL; eight eyes; 7.3%). Central foveal thickness correlated inversely to the degree of inner layer separation and to the surface of the FAZ.
Foveal structure strongly correlates with its neurovascular organization. The findings support a developmental model in which the size of the FAZ determines the extent of centrifugal migration of inner retinal layers, which counteracts in some way the centripetal packing of cone photoreceptors.
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