Axial Length Variation Impacts on Superficial Retinal Vessel Density and Foveal Avascular Zone Area Measurements Using Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2017 Jun 1;58(7):3065-3072. doi: 10.1167/iovs.17-21551.


Purpose: To evaluate the impact of image magnification correction on superficial retinal vessel density (SRVD) and foveal avascular zone area (FAZA) measurements using optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA).

Methods: Participants with healthy retinas were recruited for ocular biometry, refraction, and RTVue XR Avanti OCTA imaging with the 3 × 3-mm protocol. The foveal and parafoveal SRVD and FAZA were quantified with custom software before and after correction for magnification error using the Littman and the modified Bennett formulae. Relative changes between corrected and uncorrected SRVD and FAZA were calculated.

Results: Forty subjects were enrolled and the median (range) age of the participants was 30 (18-74) years. The mean (range) spherical equivalent refractive error was -1.65 (-8.00 to +4.88) diopters and mean (range) axial length was 24.42 mm (21.27-28.85). Images from 13 eyes were excluded due to poor image quality leaving 67 for analysis. Relative changes in foveal and parafoveal SRVD and FAZA after correction ranged from -20% to +10%, -3% to +2%, and -20% to +51%, respectively. Image size correction in measurements of foveal SRVD and FAZA was greater than 5% in 51% and 74% of eyes, respectively. In contrast, 100% of eyes had less than 5% correction in measurements of parafoveal SRVD.

Conclusions: Ocular biometry should be performed with OCTA to correct image magnification error induced by axial length variation. We advise caution when interpreting interocular and interindividual comparisons of SRVD and FAZA derived from OCTA without image size correction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Axial Length, Eye*
  • Capillaries / cytology
  • Female
  • Fluorescein Angiography / methods*
  • Fovea Centralis / blood supply*
  • Fundus Oculi
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Macula Lutea / blood supply*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retinal Vessels / cytology*
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / methods*
  • Young Adult