Optical Coherence Tomography, Scanning Laser Polarimetry and Confocal Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscopy in Retinal Nerve Fiber Layer Measurements of Glaucoma Patients

The Open Ophthalmology Journal 31 Mar 2015 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1874364101509010041



To determine the correlations and strength of association between different imaging systems in analyzing the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) of glaucoma patients: optical coherence tomography (OCT), scanning laser polarimetry (SLP) and confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscopy (CSLO).

Materials and Methodology:

114 eyes of patients with moderate open angle glaucoma underwent spectral domain OCT (Topcon SD-OCT 2000 and Zeiss Cirrus HD-OCT), SLP (GDx VCC and GDx Pro) and CSLO (Heidelberg Retina Tomograph, HRT 3). Correlation coefficients were calculated between the structural parameters yielded by these examinations. The quantitative relationship between the measured RNFL thickness globally and for the four regions (superior, inferior, nasal, temporal) were evaluated with different regression models for all used imaging systems.


The strongest correlation of RNFL measurements was found between devices using the same technology like GDx VCC and GDx Pro as well as Topcon OCT and Cirrus OCT. In glaucoma patients, the strongest associations (R²) were found between RNFL measurements of the two optical coherence tomography devices Topcon OCT and Cirrus OCT (R² = 0.513) and between GDx VCC and GDx Pro (R² = 0.451). The results of the OCTs and GDX Pro also had a strong quantitative relationship (Topcon OCT R² = 0.339 and Cirrus OCT R² = 0.347). GDx VCC and the OCTs showed a mild to moderate association (Topcon OCT R² = 0.207 and Cirrus OCT R² = 0.258). The confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscopy (HRT 3) had the lowest association to all other devices (Topcon OCT R² = 0.254, Cirrus OCT R² = 0.158, GDx Pro R² = 0.086 and GDx VCC R² = 0.1).


The measurements of the RNFL in glaucoma patients reveal a high correlation of OCT and GDx devices because OCTs can measure all major retinal layers and SLP can detect nerve fibers allowing a comparison between the results of this devices. However, CSLO by means of HRT topography can only measure height values of the retinal surface but it cannot distinguish between different retinal layers.

This may explain the rather poor correlations and associations between CSLO measurements and those of all other imaging devices which makes it difficult to compare HRT 3 nerve fiber data.

These correlations are important in clinical routine especially when different techniques are used in the follow-up of glaucoma patients.

Keywords: Confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscopy, glaucoma, OCT, retinal nerve fiber layer, scanning laser polarimetry.
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