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Original article
Age and gender-specific reference values of orbital fat and muscle volumes in Caucasians
  1. Noortje I Regensburg1,
  2. Wilmar M Wiersinga2,
  3. Mirjam E J van Velthoven1,
  4. Tos T J M Berendschot3,
  5. Frans W Zonneveld4,
  6. Lelio Baldeschi1,
  7. Peerooz Saeed1,
  8. Maarten P Mourits1
  1. 1Orbital Centre, Department of Ophthalmology, Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  2. 2Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  3. 3University Eye Clinic Maastricht, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  4. 4Department of Radiology, University Medical Centre, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Dr Noortje Regensburg, Orbital Centre, Department of Ophthalmology, Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, Meibergdreef 9, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands; n.i.regensburg{at}


Aim To provide age and gender-specific reference values for orbital fat and muscle volumes (MV) in Caucasian adults.

Patients and Methods Computed tomographic scans of 160 orbits from 52 men and 55 women, aged 20–80 years, not affected by orbital disease were evaluated. Orbital bony cavity volume (OV), fat volume (FV) and MV were calculated by a previously validated method using the software program Mimics. Ratios of FV to OV and of MV to OV were determined.

Results OV, FV and MV were all significantly larger in men than in women (p<0.001), but FV/OV and MV/OV were similar in both sexes. OV and MV did not change with age, but FV increased with advancing age in both women (p<0.001) and men (p<0.001). Linear regression analysis with FV/OV and MV/OV ratios as dependent variables and age and gender as independent variables showed a significant correlation between age and FV/OV (r=0.52, p<0.0001) and age and MV/OV (r=−0.26, p=0.001).

Conclusions Advancing age is associated with an increase of FV/OV and a minor decrease of MV/OV. Gender-specific differences in orbital FV and MV disappear once FV and MV are related to OV, by calculating the ratios FV/OV and MV/OV. Age-specific gender-neutral reference ranges (2.5 and 97.5 percentiles) of FV/OV and MV/OV are presented.

  • Muscles
  • soft tissue volume
  • orbit

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Amsterdam Medical Centre Ethics Committee.

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