The correlation between optical coherence tomography retinal shape irregularity and axial length

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Purpose To describe the retinal contour in optical coherence tomography (OCT) images, and report the relationship between retinal contour and axial length. Methods Retinal contour was defined by the path of the retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) line in macular and extra-macular OCTs of 70 eyes of 70 participants recruited from ophthalmology clinics in South Australia. The shape of this contour was described by the best-fit curvature (K), and Fourier analysis of the difference between K and the RPE. The Fourier transformation was summarised by total difference (sumdiff), maximum single frequency difference (MaxE), and root mean square difference (rmse) between each B scan residual and the average normal. All-of-eye and regional median and interquartile range (IQR) shape features were correlated to axial length. Results Retinal shape irregularity measured by Fourier transformation correlated with axial length: All-of-eye median and IQR sumdiff (ρ = 0.66 and ρ = 0.60 respectively), median and IQR rmse (ρ = 0.67 and ρ = 0.48), median MaxE (ρ = 0.61), and IQR K (ρ = 0.61) all correlated with axial length. Correlation with axial length was also seen in these parameters for 11 of 17 regions. Retinal irregularity was greatest at the macula and in inferior regions. Conclusion Retinal OCT shape becomes increasingly irregular as axial length increases. The range of curvature correlates with axial length, while median curvature does not.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0227207
Number of pages16
JournalPLoS One
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Copyright:©2019 Lake et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License,which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


  • optical coherence tomography
  • retinal shape irregularity
  • axial length
  • retinal contour


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