Spectral-Domain Optical Coherence Tomography Imaging in 67 321 Adults: Associations with Macular Thickness in the UK Biobank Study

Ophthalmology. 2016 Apr;123(4):829-40. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2015.11.009. Epub 2015 Dec 30.


Purpose: To derive macular thickness measures and their associations by performing rapid, automated segmentation of spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD OCT) images collected and stored as part of the UK Biobank (UKBB) study.

Design: Large, multisite cohort study in the United Kingdom. Analysis of cross-sectional data.

Participants: Adults from the United Kingdom aged 40 to 69 years.

Methods: Participants had nonmydriatic SD OCT (Topcon 3D OCT-1000 Mark II; Topcon GB, Newberry, Berkshire, UK) performed as part of the ocular assessment module. Rapid, remote, automated segmentation of the images was performed using custom optical coherence tomography (OCT) image analysis software (Topcon Advanced Boundary Segmentation [TABS]; Topcon GB) to generate macular thickness values. We excluded people with a history of ocular or systemic disease (diabetes or neurodegenerative diseases) and eyes with reduced vision (<0.1 logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution) or with low SD OCT signal-to-noise ratio and low segmentation success certainty.

Main outcome measures: Macular thickness values across 9 Early Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) subfields.

Results: The SD OCT scans of 67 321 subjects were available for analysis, with 32 062 people with at least 1 eye meeting the inclusion criteria. There were 17 274 women and 14 788 men, with a mean (standard deviation [SD]) age of 55.2 (8.2) years. The mean (SD) logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution visual acuity was -0.075 (0.087), and the refractive error was -0.071 (+1.91) diopters (D). The mean (SD) central macular thickness (CMT) in the central 1-mm ETDRS subfield was 264.5 (22.9) μm, with 95% confidence limits of 220.8 and 311.5 μm. After adjusting for covariates, CMT was positively correlated with older age, female gender, greater myopia, smoking, body mass index (BMI), and white ethnicity (all P < 0.001). Of note, macular thickness in other subfields was negatively correlated with older age and greater myopia.

Conclusions: We report macular thickness data derived from SD OCT images collected as part of the UKBB study and found novel associations among older age, ethnicity, BMI, smoking, and macular thickness.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Databases, Factual
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intraocular Pressure / physiology
  • Macula Lutea / anatomy & histology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organ Size
  • Prospective Studies
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence*
  • United Kingdom
  • Visual Acuity / physiology