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John Frisbee, Ramanath Bhandari, Alex Kartvelishvili, Douglas Lazzaro, Eric Shrier; Age and Axial Length Correlation with Macular Retinal Thickness. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(14):3210.
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Few studies have been published comparing patient age, ocular axial length, and retinal thickness. These variables have been known for some time to correspond to a variety of retinal pathologies. Previously published papers have shown differences in opinion with regard to a correlation between these variables. The present study was performed to compare patient age, ocular axial length, and retinal thickness to correlate our findings both with previously published works and with pathology models.
Our observational study compared 35 eyes of 22 volunteers, 13 female, 9 male, between the ages of 18 and 73. Volunteers were recruited between January 2010 and May 2010. Ocular axial length was measured using IOL Master (Carl Zeiss Meditech AG, IOLMaster with Advanced Technology, software v. 5.2.1, Jena, Germany), and retinal thickness was measured using an Optivue RTVue ft-OCT (Optovue Inc., RTVue ft-OCT, software v. 220.127.116.11, Fremont, CA) by MM5 section method analysis, evaluating inner, outer and full retinal thickness.
Ocular axial lengths were found to range between 21.5 mm and 31.3 mm (mean: 24.2 mm; median 23.8 mm). Foveal retinal thickness ranged between 193 µm and 282 µm with average retinal thickness ranging between 269 µm and 312 µm (mean 243.6 µm; median 245 µm). Using the Mann-Whitney-U test, there was no statistically significant difference in average macular thickness when compared to age, gender, or axial length.However, when comparing eyes with Axial lengths less than 23.8 mm as compared to those greater than 23.8 there was a statistically significant increase in the foveal thickness as axial length increased (p=0.017 by the Mann-Whitney U Test). Additionally, average outer macular thickness showed a corresponding decrease, but this trend did not reach statistical significance (p=0.09).
Our findings showed no statistical difference in average retinal thickness with regard to ocular axial length, but did show a statistically significant increase in foveal thickness with increasing axial length, and a decreasing trend in peripheral macular thickness. We believe these findings may correspond to the increased clinical incidence of retinal pathology, like rhegmatogenous retinal detachment frequently found in patients with increased ocular axial length.
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