Retinal and Choroidal Thickness in an Indigenous Population from Ghana: Comparison with Individuals with European or African Ancestry

Ophthalmol Sci. 2023 Aug 21;4(2):100386. doi: 10.1016/j.xops.2023.100386. eCollection 2024 Mar-Apr.


Purpose: To evaluate the thickness of the macular retina and central choroid in an indigenous population from Ghana, Africa and to compare them with those measured among individuals with European or African ancestry.

Design: Cross-sectional study, systematic review, and meta-analyses.

Participants: Forty-two healthy Ghanaians, 37 healthy individuals with European ancestry, and an additional 1427 healthy subjects with African ancestry from previously published studies.

Methods: Macular retinal thickness in the fovea, parafovea, and perifovea and central choroidal thickness were extracted from OCT volume scans. Associations with ethnicity, age, and sex were assessed using mixed-effect regression models. Monte Carlo simulations were performed to determine the sensitivity of significant associations to additional potential confounders. Pooled estimates of retinal thickness among other groups with African ancestry were generated through systematic review and meta-analyses.

Main outcome measures: Macular retinal thickness and central choroidal thickness and their association with ethnicity, age, and sex.

Results: When adjusted for age and sex, the macular retina and central choroid of Ghanaians are significantly thinner as compared with subjects with European ancestry (P < 0.001). A reduction in retinal and choroidal thickness is observed with age, although this effect is independent of ethnicity. Meta-analyses indicate that retinal thickness among Ghanaians differs markedly from that of African Americans and other previously reported indigenous African populations.

Conclusions: The thickness of the retina among Ghanaians differs not only from those measured among individuals with European ancestry, but also from those obtained from African Americans. Normative retinal and choroidal parameters determined among individuals with African or European ancestry may not be sufficient to describe indigenous African populations.

Financial disclosures: Proprietary or commercial disclosure may be found in the Footnotes and Disclosures at the end of this article.

Keywords: African-Americans; Africans; Choroid; OCT.