July 2018
Volume 59, Issue 9
Open Access
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   July 2018
Thicknesses of the central retina, retina nerve fiber layer and choroid in SCUBA divers
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Tamara Vrabec
    Geisinger Eye Institute, Danville, Pennsylvania, United States
  • William R Blodgett
    Blodgett Optical, Danville, Pennsylvania, United States
  • Vincent D Baldassano
    Wyoming Seminary, Kingston, Pennsylvania, United States
  • bonita tsai
    Chung and Associates, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Randall R Peairs
    Northeastern Eye Institute, Scranton, Pennsylvania, United States
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships   Tamara Vrabec, None; William Blodgett, None; Vincent Baldassano, None; bonita tsai, None; Randall Peairs, None
  • Footnotes
    Support  None
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science July 2018, Vol.59, 5456. doi:
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      Tamara Vrabec, William R Blodgett, Vincent D Baldassano, bonita tsai, Randall R Peairs; Thicknesses of the central retina, retina nerve fiber layer and choroid in SCUBA divers. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018;59(9):5456.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Purpose : To evaluate the thicknesses of the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFLT), central retina (CRT) and choroid (CT) in SCUBA divers and non-diver control subjects.

Methods : In this prospective, single-site evaluation of 26 eyes of 14 master or instructor divers and 36 eyes of 18 non-diver controls, CRT, RNFL and CT were evaluated with HD-OCT (Cirrus, Carl Zeiss Meditec, Inc). RNFLT and CRT were calculated by the auto-segmentation algorithm. EDI was estimated using calipers. Intraocular pressure measured by non-contact (air-puff) tonometry and ETDRS visual acuity were also obtained. All participants answered a questionnaire about their diving experience and ocular and general health to detect evidence of, or risk factors for decompression sickness.

Results : Mean age was 53 in divers and 38 in controls (p=0.0007). We found no statistically significant difference in CRT (267um vs 271um) or RNFLT (92um vs 91um) or CT (327um vs 311um) between divers and non-diver controls respectively. However, percent symmetry of RNFLT between eyes was 83% in divers and 88% in controls (p=0.0229) and superior quadrant RNFL was thicker than inferior in divers. Divers had thicker than expected CT for age (327um vs. 230um).

Conclusions : In this pilot study, RNFLT findings observed in SCUBA divers were similar to those reported in early glaucoma. CT in divers was greater than expected for age. Additional investigations of larger study populations are ongoing.

This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2018 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Honolulu, Hawaii, April 29 - May 3, 2018.


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