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Maria Cristina Savastano, Angelo Maria Minnella, Antonello Tamburrino, Gaspare Giovinco, Salvatore Ventre, Benedetto Falsini; Differential Vulnerability of Retinal Layers to Early Age-Related Macular Degeneration: Evidence by SD-OCT Segmentation Analysis. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2014;55(1):560-566. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.13-12172.
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We evaluated layer-by-layer retinal thickness in spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT), determined by automated segmentation analysis (ASA) software in healthy and early age-related maculopathy (ARM) eyes.
There were 57 eyes (specifically, 19 healthy eyes under 60 years old, 19 healthy eyes over 60, and 19 ARM eyes) recruited into this cross-sectional study. The mean ages were 36.78 (SD, ±13.82), 69.89 (SD, ±6.14), and 66.10 (SD, ±8.67) years, respectively, in the three study groups. The SD-OCT scans were transferred into a dedicated software program that performed automated segmentation of different retinal layers.
Automated layer segmentation showed clear boundaries between the following layers: retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL), ganglion cell layer plus inner plexiform layer (GCL+IPL), inner nuclear layer plus outer plexiform layer (INL+OPL), outer nuclear layer (ONL), and RPE complex. The thickness of the RNFL, ONL, and RPE layers did not show a statistically significant change across the three groups by ANOVA (P = 0.10, P = 0.09, P = 0.15, respectively). The thickness of GCL+IPL and INL+OPL was significantly different across the groups (P < 0.01), being reduced in the ARM eyes compared to healthy eyes, under and over 60 years old.
The early morphologic involvement of the GCL+IPL and INL+OPL layers in ARM eyes, as revealed by the ASA, could be related to early anatomic changes described in the inner retina of ARM eyes. This finding may represent a morphologic correlation to the deficits in postreceptoral retinal function in ARM eyes.
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