The variation and covariation of cup and disc diameters

Acta Ophthalmol (Copenh). 1976 Dec;54(6):804-18. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-3768.1976.tb01801.x.


The variation and covariation of cup and disc diameters were studied in a material derived from a population survey and consisting of 2,334 fundus photographs from as many eyes in 1,322 subjects. A simple device was used to facilitate focusing of the camera. The colour slides were projected on to a screen at a fixed distance and measured on ruled paper. The effect of refraction on the magnification in the eye-camera system was compensated by the use of a simple correcting factor. Some apparently quite normal discs, nevertheless, had an area more than four times larger than that of other equally normal ones. The sizes of discs and cups covaried, however, to a suprisingly great extent (r = 0.8) and changes in disc diameter were in general parallelled by similar changes in cup diameter. The amount of tissue in the optic nerve head therefore varied somewhat less than the disc size. Cup diameters were widely dispersed, unevenly distributed and heavily dependent on disc size. The "average rim breadths", on the other hand, were much less dispersed, normally distributed and independent on the disc diameter. By taking the covariation of cup and disc diameters into account the detection of any enlargement or diminution of the optic cup ought to be facilitated.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anthropometry
  • Child
  • Female
  • Fluorescein Angiography / instrumentation
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Optic Disk / anatomy & histology*
  • Optic Nerve / anatomy & histology*
  • Refraction, Ocular