Measurement of a novel optic disc topographic parameter, ″spikiness″, in glaucoma

Justin Morgan-Davies, Anthony J. King, Peter Aspinall, Colm J. O'Brien

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    Background: Structural changes in the lamina cribrosa have been implicated in the pathogenesis of glaucomatous optic atrophy, but not observed. This paper presents a novel parameter of topographic variability within the optic disc, termed ?spikiness?, which may reflect glaucoma-related changes in the lamina. Methods: Four age-matched groups of normal patients (n=12, mean age 64.8 years) and patients with ocular hypertension (n=14, mean age 63.1), primary open-angle glaucoma (n=11, mean age 70) and low-tension glaucoma (n=15, mean age 66.3) were recruited. Images of normal and glaucomatous eyes from the Heidelberg Retina Tomograph were imported into ERDAS image processing software where the spikiness data (30 consecutive mean surface height values across the base of the optic cup in both the vertical and horizontal meridians) were extracted in a format that facilitated further statistical analysis. Results: Significant differences in topographic variability (spikiness) existed in the vertical (F=3.64, P=0.01) but not the horizontal meridian (F=1.25, P=0.3) through the optic disc. Spikiness was inversely related to Humphrey mean deviation (P<0.05), and cup-disc ratio (P<0.004) and was directly related to nerve fibre layer thickness (P<0.005). Of particular interest was the finding that the spikiness measure was the only optic disc parameter to significantly discriminate low tension glaucoma from primary open angle glaucoma. Conclusion: A new measure of surface variability (topography) at the floor of the optic cup has been described. The new index of spikiness may represent a measurement of lamina cribrosa fragility which has been implicated, but not previously estimated, in glaucomatous eyes.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)669-676
    Number of pages8
    JournalGraefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 2000


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