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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


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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