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Application of Elliptic Fourier analysis to describe the lamina cribrosa shape with age and intraocular pressure


The lamina cribrosa (LC) plays an important biomechanical role in the optic nerve head (ONH). We developed a statistical shape model of the LC and tested if the shape varies with age or IOP. The ONHs of 18 donor eyes (47-91 years, mean 76 years) fixed at either 5 or 50 mmHg of IOP were sectioned, stained, and imaged under a microscope. A 3D model of each ONH was reconstructed and the outline of the vertical sagittal section closest to the geometric center of the LC extracted. The outline shape was described using Elliptic Fourier analysis, and principal components analysis (PCA) employed to identify the primary modes of LC shape variation. Linear mixed effect models were used to determine if the shape measurements were associated with age or IOP. The analysis revealed several modes of shape variation: thickness and depth directly (PC 1), or inversely (PC 2) related, and superior-inferior asymmetry (PC 3). Only PC 3 was associated with IOP, with higher IOP correlating with greater curvature of the LC superiorly compared to inferiorly. Our analysis enabled a concise and complete characterization of LC shape, revealing variations without defining them a priori. No association between LC shape and age was found for the relatively old population studied. Superior-inferior asymmetry of LC shape was associated with IOP, with more asymmetry at higher IOP. Increased IOP was not associated with LC thickness or depth.

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