Purpose: Published series of peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) measurements using optical coherence tomography (OCT) have sampled 100 evenly distributed points on a 360 degrees peripapillary circular scan. The goal of this study was to determine whether a four-fold increase in sampling density improves the reproducibility of OCT measurements.
Methods: Complete ophthalmic examinations, achromatic automated perimetry, and OCT imaging were performed in all patients. The OCT scanning consisted of three superior and inferior quadrantic scans (100 sampling points/quadrant) and three circular scans (25 points/quadrant). The RNFL thickness measurements and coefficient of variation (CV) were calculated for the superior and inferior quadrants for each sampling density technique.
Results: The study included 22 eyes of 22 patients (3 control subjects; 2 patients with ocular hypertension; and 17 patients with glaucoma). Quadrants with associated glaucomatous visual field loss on automated achromatic perimetry had thinner RNFLs than quadrants without functional defects for both the 25- and 100-points/quadrant scans. For quadrants associated with normal visual hemifields (n = 22), there was no difference between the 25- and 100-points/quadrant scans in mean RNFL thickness and CV. Among quadrants with visual field defects (n = 22), RNFL thickness measurements were thinner in the 25-points/quadrant scans than in the 100-points/quadrant scans. The CV for the 25-points/quadrant scans (25.9%) was significantly higher than that for the 100-points/quadrant scans (11.9%).
Conclusion: Increasing the sampling density of OCT scans provides less variable representation of RNFL thickness. The optimal sampling density to achieve maximal reliability of OCT scans remains to be determined.