Imaging of the lamina cribrosa and its role in glaucoma: a review

Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2018 Mar;46(2):177-188. doi: 10.1111/ceo.13126. Epub 2018 Jan 10.


The lamina cribrosa of the optic nerve head serves two contrasting roles; it must be porous to allow retinal ganglion cell axons to pass through, and yet at the same time, it must also provide adequate structural support to withstand the stresses and strains across it. Improvements in imaging such as optical coherence tomography image capture and image processing have allowed detailed in vivo studies of lamina cribrosa macro- and micro-architectural characteristics. This has aided our understanding of the optic nerve head as a complex biomechanical structure. In this review, we first aim to frame the biomechanical considerations of lamina cribrosa in a clinical context; in doing so, we also explore the concept of the translaminar pressure difference. Second, we aim to highlight the technological advances in imaging the lamina cribrosa and its accompanying clinical implications, and future directions in this quickly progressing field.

Keywords: glaucoma; imaging; lamina cribrosa; optical coherence tomography; translaminar pressure difference.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Glaucoma / diagnosis*
  • Glaucoma / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • Intraocular Pressure / physiology*
  • Optic Disk / diagnostic imaging*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / pathology
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / methods*