July 2019
Volume 60, Issue 9
Open Access
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   July 2019
Comparison of Orbital Volume in Young Versus Senescent Human Skulls
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Kevin Zhang
    Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland Heights , Ohio, United States
  • Catherine Hwang
    Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute, Ohio, United States
  • Julian Perry
    Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute, Ohio, United States
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships   Kevin Zhang, None; Catherine Hwang, None; Julian Perry, None
  • Footnotes
    Support  None
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science July 2019, Vol.60, 4304. doi:
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      Kevin Zhang, Catherine Hwang, Julian Perry; Comparison of Orbital Volume in Young Versus Senescent Human Skulls. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2019;60(9):4304.

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

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Purpose : Changes to the dimensions of the facial bones have been shown to occur with aging, but this relationship remains unclear with the bones of the orbit. This study compares the orbital volumes in young skulls to those of older skulls to elucidate aging-associated changes to the anatomic dimensions of the orbit.

Methods : One hundred Caucasian male skulls from the Hamann-Todd collection of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History were studied. There were fifty young skulls (age range, 19-33 years) and fifty senescent skulls (age range, 79-96 years). Fine volcanic sand was used to fill each orbit in an identical fashion and weighed as a proxy for volume. Digital calipers were used to perform linear measurements of the orbit, including the horizontal and vertical diameters and orbital depth. The relationship between orbit measures and skull size was assessed using Pearson’s correlations and 95% confidence intervals, and statistical models to compare age groups adjusted for skull size.

Results : The volume of the orbits, the horizontal diameter of the orbit, and the orbital depth were significantly larger in the senescent group of skulls after adjusting for skull surface area. The mean weight of the sand in the young group of skulls was 36.09 g (95% CI=35.04-37.14 g), while the mean weight for the senescent group was 39.59 g (95% CI=38.54-40.64; p<0.001). The mean horizontal diameter in the young group of skulls was 34.87 mm (95% CI=34.40-35.34 mm), while the mean weight for the senescent group was 35.71 mm (95% CI=35.23-36.18 mm; p=0.015). The mean orbital depth in the young group of skulls was 37.63 mm (95% CI=36.66-38.61 mm), while the mean orbital depth for the senescent group was 40.06 mm (95% CI=39.09-41.04 mm; p<0.001). No significant differences were found in the vertical diameters of the orbits between the two groups (p=0.55).

Conclusions : Increases in the depth and horizontal dimensions of the orbit lead to larger orbital volume with older age. These changes in size and shape of the orbit with age may contribute to phenotypic changes of aging and may affect orbital disease evaluation and management.

This abstract was presented at the 2019 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Vancouver, Canada, April 28 - May 2, 2019.


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