Analysis of normal peripapillary choroidal thickness via spectral domain optical coherence tomography

Ophthalmology. 2011 Oct;118(10):2001-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2011.02.049. Epub 2011 Jun 23.


Purpose: To analyze the normal peripapillary choroidal thickness utilizing a commercial spectral domain optical coherence tomography (OCT) device and determine the intergrader reproducibility of this method.

Design: Retrospective, noncomparative, noninterventional case series.

Participants: Thirty-six eyes of 36 normal patients seen at the New England Eye Center between April and September 2010.

Methods: All patients underwent high-definition scanning with the Cirrus HD-OCT. Two raster scans were obtained per eye, a horizontal and a vertical scan, both of which were centered at the optic nerve. Two independent graders individually measured the choroidal thickness. Choroidal thickness was measured from the posterior edge of the retinal pigment epithelium to the choroid-scleral junction at 500-μm intervals away from the optic nerve in the superior, inferior, nasal, and temporal quadrants. Statistical analysis was conducted to compare mean choroidal thicknesses. Intergrader reproducibility was assessed by intraclass correlation coefficient and Pearson's correlation coefficient. Average choroidal thickness in each quadrant was compared with retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness in their respective quadrants.

Main outcome measures: Peripapillary choroidal thickness, intraclass coefficient, and Pearson's correlation coefficient.

Results: The peripapillary choroid in the inferior quadrant was significantly thinner compared with all other quadrants (P<0.001). None of the other quadrants were significantly different from each other in terms of thickness. The inferior peripapillary choroid was significantly thinner compared with all other quadrants at all distances measured away from the optic nerve (P<0.001). Generally, the peripapillary choroid increases in thickness the farther it was away from the optic nerve and eventually approaching a plateau. The intraclass correlation coefficient ranged from 0.62 to 0.93 and Pearson's correlation coefficient ranged from 0.74 to 0.95 (P<0.001). Neither RNFL thickness nor average age was significantly correlated with average choroidal thickness.

Conclusions: Manual segmentation of the peripapillary choroidal thickness is reproducible between graders, suggesting that this method is accurate. The inferior peripapillary choroid was significantly thinner than all other quadrants (P<0.001).

Financial disclosure(s): Proprietary or commercial disclosure may be found after the references.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans
  • Aged
  • Asians
  • Body Weights and Measures
  • Choroid / anatomy & histology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Optic Disk
  • Reference Values
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / methods*
  • Whites