Variation of the axial location of Bruch's membrane opening with age, choroidal thickness, and race

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2014 Mar 28;55(3):2004-9. doi: 10.1167/iovs.13-12937.


Purpose: This study explores variation in the axial location of Bruch's membrane opening (BMO) to determine if this reference plane varies with age and race.

Methods: There were 168 spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SDOCT) optic nerve head volumes that were obtained from healthy subjects and manually delineated within 24 axial slices to develop point clouds for Bruch's membrane and anterior scleral surfaces. A BMO-independent reference plane was generated based on the peripapillary sclera to measure BMO position. General estimating equations were used to determine the relationship of the axial position of BMO (BMO height) with choroidal thickness, age, and race (African Descent [AD] versus European Descent [ED]) controlling for variations in axial length.

Results: The peripapillary choroid was thinner with increasing axial length (-14.9 μm/mm, P = 0.0096), advancing age (-1.1 μm/y, P = 0.00091), and in the ED group (20.2 μm, P = 0.019) in a multivariable model. Choroidal thickness was also strongly related to BMO height (P < 0.00001) independent of all covariates. Bruch's membrane opening position was more posterior relative to the sclera in older subjects (1.3 μm/y, P = 0.00017), independent of axial length and race. However, when choroidal thickness was included in the model, this association was lost (P = 0.225). There was no significant difference in BMO height between racial groups after adjustment for age and axial length.

Conclusions: Bruch's membrane opening is more posteriorly located in older individuals. These differences are largely due to differences in choroidal thickness and suggest that BMO migrates posteriorly with age due to age-related choroidal thinning. However, additional studies in longitudinal datasets are needed to validate these findings.

Keywords: choriocapillaris; optic nerve head; optical coherence tomography.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Axial Length, Eye*
  • Bruch Membrane / pathology*
  • Choroid / pathology*
  • Glaucoma, Open-Angle / diagnosis*
  • Glaucoma, Open-Angle / ethnology
  • Glaucoma, Open-Angle / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Intraocular Pressure
  • Prevalence
  • Racial Groups*
  • Sclera / pathology*
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / methods*
  • United States