Purpose: To establish a reference range of retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness by optical coherence tomography (OCT) in Chinese children and teenagers, and to investigate its relationship with sex, age, eye side, and refractive error.
Methods: A total of 398 eyes from 199 normal Chinese aged 5 to 18 years (a mean of 10.4 ± 2.7 y), who were undergoing physical examination in the Department of Ophthalmology, were recruited for this study. Their RNFL thicknesses were measured by OCT [OCT, Stratus OCT (OCT3); Carl Zeiss Meditec, Dublin, Calif], and 7 parameters associated with the RNFL thickness were analyzed by the RNFL thickness average analysis program. The influences of several factors (such as sex, age, eye side, and refractive error) on RNFL thickness were also analyzed.
Results: We found that the global average RNFL thickness (±SD) was 112.36 ± 9.21 μm in the present cohort. The thickest RNFL was located at the superior (148.73 ± 17.06 μm) and inferior (142.08 ± 16.03 μm) quadrants of the retina, followed by the temporal (83.82 ± 13.53 μm) quadrant and the nasal (74.84 ± 15.03 μm) quadrant. There was no significant difference in the measurements between boys and girls, however, the eye side had significant influence on RNFL thickness (P<0.01). We also found that the average RNFL thickness was positively correlated with the age and refractive error (P<0.01).
Conclusions: This study has established a standard reference of RNFL thickness measurements in Chinese aged 5 to 18 years by OCT, which may help to identify the changes of RNFL thickness in children and teenagers in Chinese and other parts of East Asia countries.