Background/aim: Retinal and retinal nerve fibre layer (RNFL) thinning with age have been described in histological studies. In vivo techniques like optical coherence tomography (OCT), has shown thinning of optic nerve RNFL and the retina in specific areas. One would expect thinning of the total macula, but so far, a correlation with the quantitative OCT macular map tool and age has not been found.
Methods: Sixty-seven healthy individuals underwent three repeated scans in both eyes with the macular thickness map protocol in the Stratus OCT. That protocol divides the macula area in nine ETDRS fields.The RNFL was measured in one specific location close to the optic disc. Correlations between retinal, RNFL thickness, macular volume and age were determined.
Results: We found a statistically significant negative relationship between retinal thickness and age for all ETDRS areas, total macular volume and RNFL thickness. Retinal thickness decreased with 0,26-0,46 µm, the macula volume 0,01 mm³ and RNFL with 0,09 µm per year.
Conclusion: Retinal thickness within the area covered by the macular map significantly decreases with age. In the area examined in the papillomacular bundle, 20% of the retinal thinning is due to the RNFL and 80% due to thinning of other layers of the retina.