Frenkel S, Morgan JE, Blumenthal EZ.
Eye 2005 May;19(5):491-8.
Department of Ophthalmology, Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel.
PURPOSE: Accurate assessment of the retinal nerve fibre layer (RNFL) is central to the diagnosis and follow-up of glaucoma. The in vivo measurement of RNFL thickness by a variety of digital imaging technologies is becoming an important measure for early detection, as well as for follow-up, of glaucomatous damage. However, when drawing clinical inference concerning the state of the RNFL, it is important to have valid reference data on RNFL thickness in both healthy and diseased eyes. In this review, we summarize the knowledge currently available about RNFL thickness in human and primate eyes.
METHODS: A review of the literature on histological analysis of RNFL thickness in the context of glaucomatous damage.
CONCLUSIONS: Six studies have so far analysed RNFL thickness. Despite the diverse study methodology taken, a consistent feature of all the data is that the superior and inferior quadrants of the peripapillary retina are thicker than the nasal and temporal quadrants; that the RNFL thickness rapidly diminishes with increasing distance from the disc margin; and that apparently at different locations the ratio of axons to supportive tissue varies significantly. We conclude that limited data are available to describe the normal variation in RNFL thickness in the normal human eye. Further studies may help better characterize the RNFL thickness in health and disease and to facilitate the correlation with clinical methods for nerve fibre layer assessment.