Purpose: To measure macular choroidal thickness in normal eyes at different points using enhanced depth imaging (EDI) optical coherence tomography (OCT) and to evaluate the association of choroidal thickness and age.
Design: Retrospective, observational case series.
Methods: EDI OCT images were obtained in patients without significant retinal or choroidal pathologic features. The images were obtained by positioning a spectral-domain OCT device close enough to the eye to acquire an inverted image. Seven sections were obtained within a 5 x 30-degree area centered at the fovea, with 100 scans averaged for each section. The choroid was measured from the outer border of the retinal pigment epithelium to the inner scleral border at 500-microm intervals of a horizontal section from 3 mm temporal to the fovea to 3 mm nasal to the fovea. Statistical analysis was performed to evaluate variations of choroidal thickness at each location and to correlate choroidal thickness and patient age.
Results: The mean age of the 30 patients (54 eyes) was 50.4 years (range, 19 to 85 years), and 14 patients (46.7%) were female. The choroid was thickest underneath the fovea (mean, 287 microm; standard deviation, +/- 76 microm). Choroidal thickness decreased rapidly in the nasal direction and averaged 145 microm (+/- 57 microm) at 3 mm nasal to the fovea. Increasing age was correlated significantly with decreasing choroidal thickness at all points measured. Regression analysis suggested that the subfoveal choroidal thickness decreased by 15.6 microm for each decade of life.
Conclusions: Choroidal thickness seems to vary topographically within the posterior pole. The thickness of the choroid showed a negative correlation with age. The decrease in the thickness of the choroid may play a role in the pathophysiologic features of various age-related ocular conditions.