Repeatability and Reproducibility of Macular Thickness Measurements Using Fourier Domain Optical Coherence Tomography

Alison Bruce1, Ian E Pacey1, Poonam Dharni1, Andy J Scally2, Brendan T Barrett*, 1
1 Bradford School of Optometry and Vision Science, University of Bradford, Bradford, UK
2 Institute for Health Research, School of Health, University of Bradford, Bradford, UK

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© Bruce et al.; 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 Bradford School of Optometry and Vision Science, University of Bradford, Richmond Road, Bradford BD71DP, UK; Tel: 01274 235589; Fax: 01274 235570; E-mail:


Aim: To evaluate repeatability and reproducibility of macular thickness measurements in visually normal eyes using the Topcon 3D OCT-1000.

Methods: Phase 1 investigated scan repeatability, the effect of age and pupil dilation. Two groups (6 younger and 6 older participants) had one eye scanned 5 times pre and post- dilation by 1 operator. Phase 2 investigated between-operator, within and between-visit reproducibility. 10 participants had 1 un-dilated eye scanned 3 times on 2 separate visits by 2 operators.

Results: Phase 1: No significant difference existed between repeat scans ( p = 0.75) and no significant difference was found pre- and post-dilation (p=0.54). In the younger group variation was low (95% limits ± 3.62 µm) and comparable across all retinal regions. The older group demonstrated greater variation (95% limits ± 7.6 µm).

Phase 2: For a given retinal location, 95% confidence limits for within-operator, within-visit reproducibility was 5.16 µm. This value increased to 5.56 µm for the same operator over two visits and to 6.18 µm for two operators over two visits.

Conclusion: A high level repeatability, close to 6 µm, of macular thickness measurement is possible using the 3D OCT- 1000. Measured differences in macular thickness between successive visits that exceed 6 µm in pre-presbyopic individuals are therefore likely to reflect actual structural change. OCT measures are more variable in older individuals and it is advisable to take a series of scans so that outliers can be more easily identified.

Keywords: Optical coherence tomography, retinal thickness, macula, image analysis, repeatability, reproducibility.