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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2010 Jul;51(7):3714-20. doi: 10.1167/iovs.09-4057. Epub 2010 Feb 24.

Clinical assessment of mirror artifacts in spectral-domain optical coherence tomography.

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New England Eye Center, Tufts Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.



To investigate the characteristics of a spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) image phenomenon known as the mirror artifact, calculate its prevalence, analyze potential risk factors, measure severity, and correlate it to spherical equivalent and central visual acuity (VA).


OCT macular cube 512 x 128 scans taken between January 2008 and February 2009 at the New England Eye Center were analyzed for the presence of mirror artifacts. Artifact severity was determined by the degree of segmentation breakdown that it caused on the macular map. A retrospective review was conducted of the medical records of patients with artifacts and of a random control group without artifacts.


Of 1592 patients, 9.3% (148 patients, 200 eyes) had scans that contained mirror artifacts. A significantly more myopic spherical equivalent (P < 0.001), worse VA (P < 0.001), longer axial lengths (P = 0.004), and higher proportions of moderate to high myopia (P < 0.001) were found in patients with mirror artifacts than in patients without artifacts. Worse VA was associated with increased artifact severity (P = 0.04).


In all scans analyzed, a high prevalence of mirror artifacts was found. This image artifact was often associated with patients with moderate to high myopia. Improvements in instrumentation may be necessary to resolve this problem in moderately and highly myopic eyes. Operators should be advised to properly position the retina when scanning eyes. In cases in which peripheral abnormalities in topographic measurements of retinal thickness are found, corresponding OCT scans should be examined for the presence of mirror artifacts.

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