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Axial length and optic disc size in normal eyes
  1. C Oliveira1,
  2. N Harizman1,
  3. C A Girkin2,
  4. A Xie2,
  5. C Tello1,
  6. J M Liebmann3,
  7. R Ritch1
  1. 1Department of Ophthalmology, The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, New York, New York, USA
  2. 2School of Medicine, University of Alabama, Birmingham, Alabama, USA
  3. 3Manhattan Eye Ear and Throat Hospital, New York, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to: J M Liebmann New York University School of Medicine, 310 East 14th Street suite 304, New York, NY 10003, USA; jml18{at}


Aim: To investigate the relationship between optic disc area and axial length in normal eyes of white and black people.

Methods: Consecutive eligible normal subjects were enrolled. Ocular biometry was obtained using A-scan ultrasonography, and reliable images of the optic disc were obtained using a confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscope. The relationship between optic disc area and axial length was assessed using univariate and multivariate models.

Results: 281 eyes of 281 subjects were enrolled. Black subjects (n = 157) had significantly larger discs (mean (SD) disc area, 2.12 (0.5) mm2) than white subjects (n = 124; 1.97 (0.6) mm2; t test, p = 0.02). Optic disc area increased with axial length (Pearson’s correlation coefficient, r = 0.13, p<0.035) for the entire study population. Multivariate regression models including race, disc area and axial length showed that a significant but weak linear relationship exists between axial length and disc area (partial correlation coefficient 0.14; p<0.024), and with race and disc area (partial correlation coefficient 0.19; p<0.017) when adjusted for the effects of other terms in the model.

Conclusion: Increased disc area is associated with longer axial length measurements and African ancestry. This may have implications for pathophysiology and risk assessment of glaucoma.

  • HRT II, Heidelberg Retina Tomograph II
  • IOP, intraocular pressure

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  • Funding: This work was supported in part by The Jane Banks Research Fund, The New York Glaucoma Research Institute, New York, NY and grant number K23-EY 13959-01.

  • Competing interests: None declared.

  • This work was presented in part at the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology 2005.

  • Published Online First 20 September 2006