Aim: To assess the disc area, age, sex, laterality (side of the eyes) and refractive error dependent differences in optic nerve head topographic parameters in a normal population.
Methods: Optic nerve head topographic analysis of both eyes of 551 healthy Turkish subjects aged 11-75 years (1102 eyes) was performed using a confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscope, the Heidelberg Retinal Tomograph II (HRT II). The effects of disc size, sex, laterality (side of the eyes), age and refractive error on optic nerve head topographic parameters were assessed. Subjects were divided into three different age groups (<30 years, 30-60 years, >60 years) and three different disc area groups (<2.00 mm(2), 2.00-2.25 mm(2), >2.25 mm(2)). Disc area, topography standard deviation and a total of 12 topographic parameters were calculated by HRT II for each subject. Statistical analysis was performed using Student's t-test, multiple regression analysis, Tukey-HSD test, anova and Pearson's correlation coefficient.
Results: A total of 543 subjects (298 women and 245 men) were included in the study. The mean disc area of the subjects was 2.12 +/- 0.47 mm(2) (range 1.16-4.98 mm(2)). The mean refractive error of the subjects was -0.58 +/- 1.71 D (range -4.75 D to +4.25 D). The mean cup shape measure was -0.21 +/- 0.07 (95% confidence interval -0.07 to -0.35). The disc area was significantly correlated with all of the topographic parameters but two; namely, the cup shape measure and the height variation contour. Significant age-related differences were detected in four parameters (mean retinal nerve fibre layer [RNFL] thickness, disc area, cup-to-disc area ratio, cup area) and significant sex-related differences were detected three parameters (mean RNFL thickness, height variation contour, RNFL cross-sectional area). However, there were no significant differences in any of the parameters for laterality and refractive error. The parameter cup shape measure did not correlate with any of the five variables investigated.
Conclusion: Cup shape measure was the only optic nerve head topographic parameter that was independent of age, sex, disc area, laterality and the refractive error. It seems to be a promising parameter in evaluation and comparison of the optic discs of normal subjects, with different disc area, age, sex, refraction error and laterality, as being independent of the main variation factors of the disc topography.