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Ian A. Sigal, John G. Flanagan, Kira L. Lathrop, Inka Tertinegg, Richard Bilonick; Human Lamina Cribrosa Insertion and Age. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012;53(11):6870-6879. doi: 10.1167/iovs.12-9890.
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To test the hypothesis that in healthy human eyes the lamina cribrosa (LC) insertion into the pia mater increases with age.
The optic nerve heads (ONHs) of donor eyes fixed at either 5 or 50 mm Hg of IOP were sectioned, stained, and imaged under bright- and dark-field conditions. A 3-dimensional (3D) model of each ONH was reconstructed. From the 3D models we measured the area of LC insertion into the peripapillary scleral flange and into the pia, and computed the total area of insertion and fraction of LC inserting into the pia. Linear mixed effect models were used to determine if the measurements were associated with age or IOP.
We analyzed 21 eyes from 11 individuals between 47 and 91 years old. The LC inserted into the pia in all eyes. The fraction of LC inserting into the pia (2.2%–29.6%) had a significant decrease with age (P = 0.049), which resulted from a nonsignificant increase in the total area of LC insertion (P = 0.41) and a nonsignificant decrease in the area of LC insertion into the pia (P = 0.55). None of the measures was associated with fixation IOP (P values 0.44–0.81). Differences between fellow eyes were smaller than differences between unrelated eyes.
The LC insertion into the pia mater is common in middle-aged and older eyes, and does not increase with age. The biomechanical and vascular implications of the LC insertion into the pia mater are not well understood and should be investigated further.
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