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Andrew J. Nelson, Ryuna Chang, Vivian LeTran, Brian Vu, Bruce Burkemper, Zhongdi Chu, Ali Fard, Amir Kashani, Benjamin Xu, Ruikang Wang, Rohit Varma, Grace M. Richter, for the African American Eye Disease Study Group; Ocular Determinants of Peripapillary Vessel Density in Healthy African Americans: The African American Eye Disease Study. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2019;60(10):3368-3373. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.19-27035.
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The African American (AA) population has unique ocular anatomic characteristics and a disproportionately high incidence of glaucoma, which is associated with lower peripapillary vessel density (VD). This study aimed to identify ocular determinants of peripapillary VD in healthy AAs.
This was a cross-sectional, population-based study of 1029 AAs, ages 40 and older. Participants underwent examination to obtain axial length (AL), IOP, central corneal thickness (CCT), mean retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness, visual field mean deviation (MD), and 6 × 6-mm optical coherence tomography angiography scans of the optic nerve. Participants with glaucoma, vision-threatening diabetic retinopathy, or other relevant ocular disease were excluded. Prototype software was used to quantify VD. A multivariable regression model, controlling for age and signal strength, identified the ocular variables that predicted peripapillary VD. The contribution of each variable was assessed with the magnitude of standardized regression coefficients (SRC).
Based on univariate regressions, AL, RNFL thickness, and MD had significant associations with peripapillary VD (all P < 0.001). In the final multivariate model, lower mean RNFL thickness (β = 0.0022, P < 0.001, SRC = 0.542) and longer AL (β = −0.0055, P < 0.001, SRC = −0.118) were associated with lower peripapillary VD, controlling for age and signal strength, with model R2 of 0.69.
Thinner RNFL and longer AL were the most influential ocular determinants of lower peripapillary perfusion in healthy AA eyes. Additional research is needed to clarify whether longer AL increases risk of glaucoma by affecting capillary perfusion.
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