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Arch Ophthalmol. 2010 Jun;128(6):705-11. doi: 10.1001/archophthalmol.2010.94.

Diagnosis and grading of papilledema in patients with raised intracranial pressure using optical coherence tomography vs clinical expert assessment using a clinical staging scale.

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Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Carver School of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.



To compare and contrast 2 methods of quantitating papilledema, namely, optical coherence tomography (OCT) and Modified Frisén Scale (MFS).


Digital optic disc photographs and OCT fast retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness, fast RNFL map, total retinal thickness, and fast disc images were obtained in 36 patients with papilledema. Digital optic disc photographs were randomized and graded by 4 masked expert reviewers using the MFS. We performed Spearman rank correlations of OCT RNFL thickness, OCT total retinal thickness, and MFS grade from photographs.


OCT RNFL thickness and MFS grade from photographs correlated well (R = 0.85). OCT total retinal thickness and MFS grade from photographs had a similar correlation of 0.87. Comparing OCT RNFL thickness with OCT total retinal thickness, a slope of 1.64 suggests a greater degree of papilledema thickness change when using the latter.


For lower-grade abnormalities, OCT compares favorably with clinical staging of optic nerve photographs. With higher grades, OCT RNFL thickness processing algorithms often fail, with OCT total retinal thickness performing more favorably.

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