A comparison of optic nerve head morphology viewed by spectral domain optical coherence tomography and by serial histology

Nicholas G. Strouthidis, Jonathan Grimm, Galen A. Williams, Grant A. Cull, David J. Wilson, Claude F. Burgoyne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Scopus citations


Purpose. To compare serial optic nerve head (ONH) histology with interpolated B-scans generated from a three-dimensional (3-D) spectral domain (SD)-OCT ONH volume acquired in vivo from the same normal monkey eye. Methods. A 15° ONH SD-OCT volume was acquired in a normal monkey eye, with IOP manometrically controlled at 10 mm Hg. After perfusion fixation at 10 mm Hg, the ONH was trephined, the specimen embedded in a paraffin block, and serial sagittal sections cut at 4-μm intervals. The location of each histologic section was identified within the optic disc photograph by matching the position of the retinal vessels and of Bruch's membrane opening. By altering the angles of rotation and incidence, interpolated B-scans matching the location of the histologic sections were generated with custom software. Structures identified in the histologic sections were compared with signals identified in the matched B-scans. Results. Close matches between histologic sections and interpolated B-scans were identified throughout the extent of the ONH. SD-OCT identified the neural canal opening as the termination of the Bruch's membrane-retinal pigment complex and border tissue as the innermost termination of the choroidal signal. The anterior lamina cribrosa and its continuity with the prelaminar glial columns were also detected by SD-OCT. Conclusions. Volumetric SD-OCT imaging of the ONH generates interpolated B-scans that accurately match serial histologic sections. SD-OCT captures the anterior laminar surface, which is likely to be a key structure in the detection of early ONH damage in ocular hypertension and glaucoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1464-1474
Number of pages11
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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