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Bao N Nguyen, Jon O Cleary, Rebecca Glarin, Scott C Kolbe, Bradford A Moffat, Roger J Ordidge, Bang V Bui, Allison M McKendrick; Normative retrobulbar measurements of the optic nerve using ultra high field magnetic resonance imaging. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2019;60(9):6109.
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We exploit the improved spatial resolution and signal-to-noise gain of ultra high field (7T) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with a dedicated eye coil for more accurate morphometric measurements of the optic nerve ~2.5mm behind the globe.
Coronal T2-weighted oblique images (TR=2000ms, TE=64ms, FOV=155mm, matrix=384 x 384, slice thickness=0.7mm, scan time=2’34”) through the optic nerve were obtained in 21 healthy adults (20-41 years, 11 emmetropes: +0.75 to -0.50D, 10 myopes: -4.5 to -12D) using a 7T Siemens Magnetom scanner (Erlangen, Germany) and 6-channel eye coil (MRI.TOOLS GmbH, Berlin, Germany). Horizontal and vertical outer diameter of the optic nerve, subarachnoid space (fluid gap) and optic sheath were measured by hand using biomedical imaging software (OsiriX, Pixmeo, Switzerland) (Figure). Significant motion artefacts were avoided with customised fixation and preparation techniques.
Horizontal and vertical measurements were similar so were averaged. Right and left eye diameters did not differ and were highly correlated (optic nerve: Pearson r=0.9, p<0.001; fluid gap: r=0.8, p<0.001; optic sheath: r=0.7, p<0.001); hence we report left eye data only. Optic nerve diameter (average of horizontal and vertical diameters) ranged from 2.8-4.1mm in emmetropes and 1.5-4.2mm in myopes and correlated with refractive error (Spearman r=0.46, p=0.04). Similarly, fluid gap diameter (emmetropes: 3.6-5.5mm, myopes: 2.5-5.6mm), but not optic sheath diameter (emmetropes: 4.5-6.8mm, myopes: 4.2-6.8mm), correlated with refractive error (r=0.47, p=0.03).
Ultra high field MRI with thinner slices enables more accurate demarcation of the optic nerve, surrounding fluid/subarachnoid space and optic sheath without overlapping of neighbouring anatomy (minimal partial volume artefact). Our 7T MRI-derived normative measurements of optic nerve, fluid gap and sheath diameter are comparable with published reports in healthy observers obtained at conventional MRI magnetic fields (1.5-3T). Our findings suggest a trend for retrobulbar optic nerve and subarachnoid space, but not optic sheath, to be smaller in high myopes.
This abstract was presented at the 2019 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Vancouver, Canada, April 28 - May 2, 2019.
Example left eye coronal oblique scan through the optic nerve indicating the three anatomical areas of interest (1) optic nerve (2) fluid gap (3) optic sheath
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