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Johan Sjöstrand, Rebecka Rosén, Maria Nilsson, Zoran Popovic; Arrested Foveal Development in Preterm Eyes: Thickening of the Outer Nuclear Layer and Structural Redistribution Within the Fovea. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2017;58(12):4948-4958. doi: 10.1167/iovs.17-22333.
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The aim of this study was to define landmarks to better characterize foveal microstructure in normal subjects and in preterms with or without signs of immaturity, and to report on thickness changes of outer foveal layers following analysis of optical coherence tomography (OCT) B-scan images.
Selected eyes from eight young adults with a history of prematurity (24–33 weeks of gestation) and five controls were imaged using conventional and directional OCT. Retinal layer thickness analysis was performed at selected temporal eccentricities defined by the individual distance between two landmarks for each case, the foveal center and the foveal rim.
The use of a foveal center and foveal rim landmark transformation enabled comparisons of interindividual B-scans at corresponding landmark positions in both controls and preterms. We found a 20% shorter foveal center to foveal rim distance in preterms with an immature fovea than in controls. Reflectometric and manual segmentation measurements showed increased thickness of inner retinal layers and photoreceptor cell body and outer plexiform layers centrally, but no observable change of photoreceptor inner and outer segment thickness.
Our landmark-based analysis of OCT images using reflectometry and manual segmentation provides complementary findings in comparisons of normal and immature foveal structures. We show a central thickness increase in the outer nuclear layer, outer plexiform layer, and postreceptor layers in preterms with signs of arrested foveal development. We found no indication of abnormal photoreceptor inner or outer segment development in preterms.
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