Topographic differences in the age-related changes in the retinal nerve fiber layer of normal eyes measured by stratus optical coherence tomography

William J. Feuer, Donald L. Budenz, Douglas R. Anderson, Louis Cantor, David S. Greenfield, Jonathan Savell, Joel S. Schuman, Rohit Varma

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PURPOSE: To determine whether there are regional differences in the age-related changes in peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness as measured by time-domain optical coherence tomography (OCT). METHODS: Fast peripapillary RNFL scans obtained with the Stratus time-domain OCT with nominal diameter of 3.46-mm centered on the optic disc were carried out on 425 normal participants over a wide age range. One eye was randomly selected for scanning or analysis. Average RNFL-, clock hour-, and quadrant-specific rates of RNFL thickness change were calculated and compared. RESULTS: The 425 study participants ranged in age from 18 to 85 years with mean (±SD) of 46 (±15) years. The mean (±SD) average measured RNFL thickness was 104.7 (±10.8) micrometers (μm). The decline in the average RNFL thickness was 2.4 μm per decade of age. Changes in RNFL thickness per decade of age ranged from -5.4 (P<0.001) at clock hour 1 to -0.9 (P=0.28) at clock hour 6. Similarly, the rate of thickness change per decade of age in the superior quadrant was -4.3 (P<0.001) versus -1.5 (P=0.006) in the inferior quadrant. The slopes of thinning superiorly and inferiorly were highly significantly different (P=0.001). CONCLUSIONS: The age-related decline in normal RNFL measurements does not occur at equal rates around the disc and occurs mainly superiorly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-138
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Glaucoma
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2011



  • age
  • optical coherence tomography
  • retinal nerve fiber layer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology

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