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Adhi, Mehreen; Ferrara, Daniela; Mullins, Robert F.; Baumal, Caroline R.; Mohler, Kathrin J.; Kraus, Martin F.; Liu, Jonathan; Badaro, Emmerson; Alasil, Tarek; Hornegger, Joachim; Fujimoto, James G.; Duker, Jay S. and Waheed, Nadia K. (2015): Characterization of Choroidal Layers in Normal Aging Eyes Using Enface Swept-Source Optical Coherence Tomography.
In: PLOS ONE 10(7), e0133080 [PDF, 2MB]

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Purpose To characterize qualitative and quantitative features of the choroid in normal eyes using enface swept-source optical coherence tomography (SS-OCT). Methods Fifty-two eyes of 26 consecutive normal subjects were prospectively recruited to obtain multiple three-dimensional 12x12mm volumetric scans using a long-wavelength high-speed SS-OCT prototype. A motion-correction algorithm merged multiple SS-OCT volumes to improve signal. Retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) was segmented as the reference and enface images were extracted at varying depths every 4.13 mu m intervals. Systematic analysis of the choroid at different depths was performed to qualitatively assess the morphology of the choroid and quantify the absolute thicknesses as well as the relative thicknesses of the choroidal vascular layers including the choroidal microvasculature (choriocapillaris, terminal arterioles and venules;CC) and choroidal vessels (CV) with respect to the subfoveal total choroidal thickness (TC). Subjects were divided into two age groups: younger (<40 years) and older (>= 40 years). Results Mean age of subjects was 41.92 (24-66) years. Enface images at the level of the RPE, CC, CV, and choroidal-scleral interface were used to assess specific qualitative features. In the younger age group, the mean absolute thicknesses were: TC 379.4 mu m (SD +/- 75.7 mu m),CC 81.3 mu m (SD +/- 21.2 mu m) and CV 298.1 mu m (SD +/- 63.7 mu m). In the older group, the mean absolute thicknesses were: TC 305.0 mu m (SD +/- 50.9 mu m),CC 56.4 mu m (SD +/- 12.1 mu m) and CV 248.6 mu m (SD +/- 49.7 mu m). In the younger group, the relative thicknesses of the individual choroidal layers were: CC 21.5% (SD +/- 4.0%) and CV 78.4% (SD +/- 4.0%). In the older group, the relative thicknesses were: CC 18.9% (SD +/- 4.5%) and CV 81.1% (SD +/- 4.5%). The absolute thicknesses were smaller in the older age group for all choroidal layers (TC p=0.006, CC p=0.0003, CV p=0.03) while the relative thickness was smaller only for the CC (p=0.04). Conclusions Enface SS-OCT at 1050nm enables a precise qualitative and quantitative characterization of the individual choroidal layers in normal eyes. Only the CC is relatively thinner in the older eyes. In-vivo evaluation of the choroid at variable depths may be potentially valuable in understanding the natural history of age-related posterior segment disease.

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