Measurement of Scleral Thickness in Humans Using Anterior Segment Optical Coherent Tomography.
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Anterior segment optical coherent tomography (AS-OCT, Visante; Zeiss) is used to examine meridional variation in anterior scleral thickness (AST) and its association with refractive error, ethnicity and gender. Scleral cross-sections of 74 individuals (28 males; 46 females; aged between 18-40 years (27.7±5.3)) were sampled twice in random order in 8 meridians: [superior (S), inferior (I), nasal (N), temporal (T), superior-temporal (ST), superior-nasal (SN), inferior-temporal (IT) and inferior-nasal (IN)]. AST was measured in 1mm anterior-to-posterior increments (designated the A-P distance) from the scleral spur (SS) over a 6mm distance. Axial length and refractive error were measured with a Zeiss IOLMaster biometer and an open-view binocular Shin-Nippon autorefractor. Intra- and inter-observer variability of AST was assessed for each of the 8 meridians. Mixed repeated measures ANOVAs tested meridional and A-P distance differences in AST with refractive error, gender and ethnicity. Only right eye data were analysed. AST (mean±SD) across all meridians and A-P distances was 725±46 μm. Meridian SN was the thinnest (662±57 μm) and I the thickest (806±60 μm). Significant differences were found between all meridians (p<0.001), except S:ST, IT:IN, IT:N and IN:N. Significant differences between A-P distances were found except between SS and 6 mm and between 2 and 4 mm. AST measurements at 1mm (682±48 μm) were the thinnest and at 6mm (818±49 μm) the thickest (p<0.001); a significant interaction occurred between meridians and A-P distances (p<0.001). AST was significantly greater (p<0.001) in male subjects but no significant differences were found between refractive error or ethnicity. Significant variations in AST occur with regard to meridian and distance from the SS and may have utility in selecting optimum sites for pharmaceutical or surgical intervention.
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