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Stacy M Meuer, Kyungmoo Lee, Andreas Wahle, Kristine E Lee, Amruta Kulkarni, Barbara E K Klein, Milan Sonka, Michael David Abramoff, Ronald Klein; Age and sex distribution of retinal layer thickness from spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) macular scans in the Beaver Dam Eye Study (BDES). Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2015;56(7 ):1805.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To describe retinal layer thickness by age, sex and location in the macula in a large population based study of older adults.
SD-OCT imaging was performed in participants aged 63-100 years at the 2008-2010 BDES examination (n=1913). These images (3038 gradable scans in 1538 people) were automatically segmented using the Iowa Reference Algorithms which identify 10 retinal layers: nerve fiber (NFL), ganglion cell (GCL), inner plexiform (IPL), inner nuclear (INL), outer plexiform (OPL), outer nuclear (ONL), inner segment/outer segment (ISOS), outer segment junction (OSJ), outer photo receptor (OPR) and retinal pigment epithelial (RPE). Mean thickness of each layer was calculated by averaging the thicknesses of the 4 subfields in the inner ring of the Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study grid. Scans where macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, macular holes, epiretinal membranes or other pathology was identified and scans with a low tissue contrast score or other artifacts (severe motion, Z-plane offset) affecting segmentation were excluded.
The average (standard deviation) thickness in the inner ring was 25.7 (2.9), 44.0 (7.3) 40.0 (3.0), 34.5 (3.3), 32.1 (3.6), 39.8 (8.4) 12.4 (0.7), 12.0 (1.8), 16.5 (2.3) and 18.8 (1.7) µ for the NFL, GCL, IPL, INL, OPL, ONL, ISOS, OSJ, OPR, and the RPE, respectively. The figure shows the thickness z-score by age. With the exception of the ISOS and RPE, the layers were thinner with age and in females (not statistically different for GCL). The ISOS and RPE were slightly thicker with age and in females. No associations between age or sex and the OPL were identified. The GCL thickness decreased from 45.8 µ in persons aged <70 years to 39.5 µ in those aged ≥85 years, or a 0.28 µ decrease per 1 year increase in age. Equivalent but smaller decreases in thickness of other retinal layers with age were found. Trends were similar for the central subfield and outer ring.
Age related thinning of the retina was present in most retinal layers. The differences between layers, correlates and functional implications of these findings will be further explored.
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