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J Anat. 2017 Sep;231(3):319-324. doi: 10.1111/joa.12641. Epub 2017 Jun 16.

Determination of retinal surface area.

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Division of Optometry and Visual Science, Applied Vision Research Centre, City, University of London, London, UK.
School of Life and Health Sciences, Aston University, Birmingham, UK.
Clinical Research & Imaging Centre, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.


Previous attempts at determining retinal surface area and surface area of the whole eye have been based upon mathematical calculations derived from retinal photographs, schematic eyes and retinal biopsies of donor eyes. 3-dimensional (3-D) ocular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) allows a more direct measurement, it can be used to image the eye in vivo, and there is no risk of tissue shrinkage. The primary purpose of this study is to compare, using T2-weighted 3D MRI, retinal surface areas for superior-temporal (ST), inferior-temporal (IT), superior-nasal (SN) and inferior-nasal (IN) retinal quadrants. An ancillary aim is to examine whether inter-quadrant variations in area are concordant with reported inter-quadrant patterns of susceptibility to retinal breaks associated with posterior vitreous detachment (PVD). Seventy-three adult participants presenting without retinal pathology (mean age 26.25 ± 6.06 years) were scanned using a Siemens 3-Tesla MRI scanner to provide T2-weighted MR images that demarcate fluid-filled internal structures for the whole eye and provide high-contrast delineation of the vitreous-retina interface. Integrated MRI software generated total internal ocular surface area (TSA). The second nodal point was used to demarcate the origin of the peripheral retina in order to calculate total retinal surface area (RSA) and quadrant retinal surface areas (QRSA) for ST, IT, SN, and IN quadrants. Mean spherical error (MSE) was -2.50 ± 4.03D and mean axial length (AL) 24.51 ± 1.57 mm. Mean TSA and RSA for the RE were 2058 ± 189 and 1363 ± 160 mm2 , respectively. Repeated measures anova for QRSA data indicated a significant difference within-quadrants (P < 0.01) which, contrasted with ST (365 ± 43 mm2 ), was significant for IT (340 ± 40 mm2 P < 0.01), SN (337 ± 40 mm2 P < 0.01) and IN (321 ± 39 mm2 P < 0.01) quadrants. For all quadrants, QRSA was significantly correlated with AL (P < 0.01) and exhibited equivalent increases in retinal area/mm increase in AL. Although the differences between QRSAs are relatively small, there was evidence of concordance with reported inter-quadrant patterns of susceptibility to retinal breaks associated with PVD. The data allow AL to be converted to QRSAs, which will assist further work on inter-quadrant structural variation.


human ocular anatomy; myopia; ocular biometry; ocular shape; retinal surface area

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