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Mark J. Kupersmith, Patrick Sibony, Gary Mandel, Mary Durbin, Randy H. Kardon; Optical Coherence Tomography of the Swollen Optic Nerve Head: Deformation of the Peripapillary Retinal Pigment Epithelium Layer in Papilledema. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(9):6558-6564. doi: 10.1167/iovs.10-6782.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To examine the biomechanical deformation of load bearing structures of the optic nerve head (ONH) resulting from raised intracranial pressure, using high definition optical coherence tomography (HD-OCT). The authors postulate that elevated intracranial pressure induces forces in the retrolaminar subarachnoid space that can deform ONH structures, particularly the peripapillary Bruch's membrane (BM) and RPE layers.
The authors compared HD-OCT optic nerve and peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) findings in eyes with papilledema caused by raised intracranial pressure to findings in eyes with optic disc swelling caused by optic neuritis and nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION), conditions without intracranial hypertension. The authors measured average thickness of the RNFL and the angle of the RPE/BM at the temporal and nasal borders of the neural canal opening. The angle was measured as positive with inward (toward the vitreous) angulation and as negative with outward angulation.
Of 30 eyes with papilledema, 20 eyes (67%) had positive RPE/BM rim angles. One of eight optic neuritis (12%) eyes and 1 of 12 NAION (8%) eyes had positive angulation. In five eyes with papilledema, RNFL thickening increased, three of which developed positive RPE/BM angles. On follow-up, 22 papilledema eyes had a reduction of RNFL swelling, and 17 of these eyes had less positive RPE/BM angulation.
In papilledema, the RPE/BM is commonly deflected inward, in contrast to eyes with NAION or optic neuritis. The RPE/BM angulation is presumed to be caused by elevated pressure in the subarachnoid space, does not correlate with the amount of RNFL swelling, and resolves as papilledema subsides.
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