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The effect of glaucoma on the optical attenuation coefficient of the retinal nerve fiber layer in spectral domain optical coherence tomography images.

Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012, vol. 53, issue 4

PURPOSE

To demonstrate the effect of glaucoma on the optical attenuation coefficient of the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) in Spectral Domain Optical Coherence Tomography (SD-OCT) images.

METHODS

We analyzed images of the peripapillary areas in 10 healthy and 30 glaucomatous eyes (mild, moderate, and advanced glaucoma, 10 eyes each), scanned with the Spectralis OCT (Heidelberg Engineering GmbH, Dossenheim, Germany). To calculate the RNFL attenuation coefficient (μ(att)), determined by the scattering properties of the RNFL, we used a model that normalized the reflectivity of the RNFL by the retinal pigment epithelium. The analysis was performed at four preset locations at 1.3 and 1.7 mm from the center of the optic nerve head (ONH) (i.e., temporally, superiorly, nasally, and inferiorly) and on averages per eye. To assess the structure-function relationship, we correlated the μ(att) to the mean deviation (MD) in standard automated perimetry.

RESULTS

The μ(att) of the RNFL decreased up to 40% with increasing disease severity, on average as well as in each location around the ONH (Jonckheere-Terpstra test, P

CONCLUSIONS

The measurements clearly demonstrated that the μ(att) of the RNFL decreased with increasing disease severity. The RNFL attenuation coefficient may serve as a new method to quantify glaucoma in SD-OCT images.

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