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Relationship of the Macular Ganglion Cell and Inner Plexiform Layers in Healthy and Glaucoma Eyes



To explore factors influencing the inner plexiform layer (IPL) in healthy subjects and to test the hypothesis that IPL thickness is preferentially decreased in glaucoma as compared with ganglion cell layer (GCL) thickness.


Ninety-nine glaucomatous eyes and 66 healthy eyes (165 subjects) underwent macular spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) imaging and GCL and IPL were segmented creating 8 × 8 arrays of 3° × 3° superpixels. The central 24 superpixels were categorized into three levels of eccentricity (∼1.5°, 4.5°, and 7.5° from the foveal center). Linear mixed models were used to determine predictive parameters for IPL thickness in healthy subjects and to explore the influence of diagnosis of glaucoma on IPL thickness taking into account the effect of GCL thickness and other covariates.


Being located at 4.5° eccentricity predicted thicker IPL compared with 1.5° eccentricity (P < 0.001) in multivariable models in healthy subjects, whereas older age (P = 0.001) and Asian ethnicity (P = 0.021) were associated with thinner IPL. Diagnosis of glaucoma was not associated with thinner IPL regardless of eccentricity after accounting for age and ethnicity. The results were similar when only eyes with mean deviation greater than -6 dB were analyzed.


Ethnicity and distance from the fovea are the main determinants of IPL thickness in the central macula. Preferential thinning of the macular IPL, compared with GCL, could not be detected in this study regardless of glaucoma stage.

Translational relevance

There is no evidence for preferential thinning of the macular IPL in glaucoma compared with GCL based on currently available SD-OCT-imaging technology.

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