Morphometry of the optic nerve and retinal vessels in children by computer-assisted image analysis of fundus photographs

Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 1995 Mar;233(3):150-3. doi: 10.1007/BF00166607.


Background: The retinal fundus in childhood has a different morphology than in adulthood. Existing methods are not suitable for evaluation of fundus photographs from children. Therefore, a new method for quantitative analysis of fundus morphology utilizing a personal computer-assisted digital mapping system was developed.

Methods: A CCD flatbed scanner is used to digitize fundus photographs, producing computer images which are analyzed on an IBM/AT computer. Area measurements of the optic disc, excavation and peripapillary crescent are made, as well as determinations of the length, branching, tortuosity and distribution of the retinal vessels on the fundus surface.

Results: Determination of the inter- and intra-observer variability of the computer-assisted image analysis technique demonstrated good reproducibility. The method is demonstrated using fundus photographs of six normal children and six children with the fetal alcohol syndrome. Typical variations in appearance of optic disc and retinal vessels are seen.

Conclusion: The system is unique in measuring both the optic nerve head and the retinal vessels and is therefore especially useful for detailed studies of normal and abnormal development of these structures in children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders / complications
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders / pathology
  • Fundus Oculi*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Observer Variation
  • Optic Disk / pathology
  • Optic Nerve / pathology*
  • Photography
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retinal Vessels / pathology*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity