Comparative Anatomy of the Optic Nerve Head and Inner Retina in Non-Primate Animal Models Used for Glaucoma Research

Christian Albrecht May*
Department of Anatomy, Medical Faculty Carl Gustav Carus, Technical University Dresden, D-01307 Dresden, Germany

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© Christian Albrecht May; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestrictive use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Anatomisches Institut, Fetscherstr. 74, D-01307 Dresden, Germany; Tel: +49-351-458-6105; Fax: +49-351-458-6303; E-mail:


To judge the information of experimental settings in relation to the human situation, it is crucial to be aware of morphological differences and peculiarities in the species studied. Related to glaucoma, the most important structures of the posterior eye segment are the optic nerve head including the lamina cribrosa, and the inner retinal layers. The review highlights the differences of the lamina cribrosa and its vascular supply, the prelaminar optic nerve head, and the retinal ganglion cell layer in the most widely used animal models for glaucoma research, including mouse, rat, rabbit, pig, dog, cat, chicken, and quail. Although all species show some differences to the human situation, the rabbit seems to be the most problematic animal for glaucoma research.

Keywords: Morphology, lamina cribrosa, optic nerve head, inner retina, animal models.