The normal optic nerve variations in an optometric population: Possible ocular and systemic influences

Collin, Catherine orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-8606-9927 (2014) The normal optic nerve variations in an optometric population: Possible ocular and systemic influences. Doctoral thesis, Aston University.

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Early detection of glaucoma relies on a detailed knowledge of how the normal optic nerve (ONH) varies within the population. The purpose of this study focused on two main areas;
1. To explore the optic nerve head appearance in the normal optometric population and compare the south Asian (principally Pakistani) with the European white population, correcting for possible ocular and non-ocular influences in a multiple regression model. The main findings were:
• The optic discs of the South Asian (SA) and White European (WE) populations were not statistically different in size. The SA group possessed discs with increased cupping and thinner neuro-retinal rims (NRR) compared with the WE group. The SA group also demonstrated a more vertically oval shape than the WE population. These differences were significant at the p<0.01 level.
• The upper limits of inter-eye asymmetry were: ≤0.2 for cup to disc area ratio, and 3mmHg for intra-ocular pressure (IOP) for both ethnic groups and this did not increase with age. IOP asymmetry did not vary with gender, ethnicity or a family history of glaucoma and was independent of ONH asymmetry. ONH and IOP asymmetry are therefore independent risk factors when screening for glaucoma for both ethnic groups.
2. To investigate the validity of the ISNT rule: inferior> superior> nasal> temporal NRR thickness in the optometric population. The main findings were:
• As disc size increased the disc become rounder and less vertically oval in shape. Vertically oval discs had thicker superior and inferior NRRs and thinner nasal and temporal NRRs compared with rounder disc shapes due to cup shape being independent of disc shape. Vertically oval discs were therefore more likely to obey the ISNT rule than larger rounder discs.
• The ISNT rule has a low adherence in our sample of normal eyes (5.7%). However, by removing the nasal sector to become the IST rule, 74.5% of normal eyes obeyed. SA eyes and female gender were more likely to obey the ISNT rule due to increased disc ovality. The IST rule is independent of disc shape and therefore more suitable for assessing discs from both ethnic backgrounds. Obeying the ISNT rule or IST rule was not related to disc or cup size

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