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Relation between retinal vessel diameter and posterior segment optical coherence tomography variables in middle-aged Caucasians: the Northern Finland Birth Cohort Eye Study
  1. Mohamed I Geneid1,2,3,4,
  2. Janne J Uusitalo1,2,
  3. Ilmari L Leiviskä1,2,
  4. Ville O Saarela1,2,3,
  5. M Johanna Liinamaa1,2,3
  1. 1 Department of Ophthalmology, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
  2. 2 Medical Research Center, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
  3. 3 PEDEGO Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
  4. 4 Department of Ophthalmology, Päijät-Häme Central Hospital, Lahti, Finland
  1. Correspondence to Dr M Johanna Liinamaa, Department of Ophthalmology, Oulu University Hospital, 90029 Oulu, Finland; johanna.liinamaa{at}


Aims Studying the relationship between retinal vessel diameter (RVD) with (1) macular thickness and volume, (2) retinal nerve fibre layer (RNFL), (3) ganglion cell-inner plexiform layer (GC-IPL) and (4) optic nerve head (ONH) in a population cohort of middle-aged Caucasians.

Methods We collected data from 3070 individuals. We used a semiautomated computer-assisted programme to measure central retinal arteriolar equivalent and central retinal venular equivalent. Macular and ONH parameters were assessed by optical coherence tomography.

Results Data from 2155 persons were analysed. A larger RVD was associated with a thicker macula and increased macular volume; each SD increase in average macular thickness and volume was associated with a 3.28 µm and a 3.19 µm increase in arteriolar diameter and a 5.10 µm and a 5.08 µm increase in venular diameter, respectively (p<0.001 for all). A larger rim area, greater GC-IPL and RNFL thicknesses were associated with larger RVD; each SD increase in rim area, GC-IPL thickness and RNFL thickness was associated with a 1.21 µm, 2.68 µm and a 3.29 µm increase in arteriolar diameter and a 2.13 µm, 4.02 µm and 5.04 µm increase in venular diameter, respectively (p<0.001 for all).

Conclusions Increased macular thickness, macular volume, GC-IPL thickness, RNFL thickness and optic nerve rim area were associated with larger RVDs in all subjects. This study clarified the anatomical correlations between both macular and ONH parameters with RVD for middle-aged Caucasians; these can represent a basis for further studies investigating the vascular aetiology of eye diseases.

  • central retinal arteriolar equivalent
  • central retinal venular equivalent
  • optic nerve head
  • retina
  • IVAN
  • macula
  • optical coherence tomography
  • ganglion cell-inner plexiform layer

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  • Contributors Substantial contributions to the design of the work: JL, MIG, VS, JU. Acquisition: VS, JL, MIG. Analysis: JU, IL. Interpretation of data: MIG, JL, VS. Drafting the work: MIG. Revising it critically for important intellectual content: MIG, VS, JL. Final approval of the version published: all authors agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work.

  • Funding This work was supported by Silmäsäätiö, Mary and Georg Ehrnrooth Foundation, Northern Finland Health Care Support Foundation, Glaukooma Tukisäätiö LUX and Suomen Lääketieteen Säätiö.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval The study was approved by the Ethical Committee of the Northern Ostrobothnia Hospital District. The study adhered to the Declaration of Helsinki.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement No data are available. Authors do not have the authority to share data.