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Patrick Sibony, Mark J. Kupersmith, F. James Rohlf; Shape Analysis of the Peripapillary RPE Layer in Papilledema and Ischemic Optic Neuropathy. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(11):7987-7995. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.11-7918.
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Geometric morphometrics (GM) was used to analyze the shape of the peripapillary retinal pigment epithelium–Bruch's membrane (RPE/BM) layer imaged on the SD-OCT 5-line raster in normal subjects and in patients with papilledema and ischemic optic neuropathy.
Three groups of subjects were compared: 30 normals, 20 with anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (AION), and 25 with papilledema and intracranial hypertension. Twenty equidistant semilandmarks were digitized on OCT images of the RPE/BM layer spanning 2500 μm on each side of the neural canal opening (NCO). The data were analyzed using standard GM techniques, including a generalized least-squares Procrustes superimposition, principal component analysis, thin-plate spline (to visualize deformations), and permutation statistical analysis to evaluate differences in shape variables.
The RPE/BM layer in normals and AION have a characteristic V shape pointing away from the vitreous; the RPE/BM layer in papilledema has an inverted U shape, skewed nasally inward toward the vitreous. The differences were statistically significant. There was no significant difference in shapes between normals and AION. Pre- and posttreatment OCTs, in select cases of papilledema, showed that the inverted U-shaped RPE/BM moved posteriorly into a normal V shape as the papilledema resolved with weight loss or shunting.
The shape difference in papilledema, absent in AION, cannot be explained by disc edema alone. The difference is a consequence of both the translaminar pressure gradient and the material properties of the peripapillary sclera. GM offers a novel way of statistically assessing shape differences of the peripapillary optic nerve head.
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