09 March 2020
The purpose of this study was to examine changes in the ganglion cell layer (GCL) of individuals with intermediate age-related macular degeneration (AMD) using grid-wise analysis for macular optical coherence tomography (OCT) volume scans. We also aim to validate the use of age-correction functions for GCL thickness in diseased eyes.
OCT macular cube scans covering 30° × 25° were acquired using Spectralis spectral-domain OCT for 87 eyes with intermediate AMD, 77 age-matched normal eyes, and 254 non-age-matched normal eyes. The thickness of the ganglion cell layer (GCL) was defined after segmentation at 60 locations across an 8 × 8 grid centered on the fovea, where each grid location covered 0.74 mm 2 (approximately 3° × 3°) within the macula. Each GCL location of normal eyes ( n = 77) were assigned to a specific iso-ganglion cell density cluster in the macula, based on patterns of age-related GCL thickness loss. Analyses were then performed comparing AMD GCL grid-wise data against corresponding spatial clusters, and significant AMD GCL thickness changes were denoted as values outside the 95% distribution limits.
Analysis of GCL thickness changes revealed significant differences between spatial clusters, with thinning toward the fovea, and thickening toward the peripheral macula. The direction of GCL thickness changes in AMD were associated more so with thickening than thinning in all analyses. Results were corroborated by the application of GCL thickness age-correction functions.