Glaucoma increases retinal surface contour variability as measured by optical coherence tomography

Ou Tan, Liang Liu, Xinbo Zhang, John C. Morrison, David Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


PURPOSE. We investigated the feasibility of glaucoma detection by measuring retinal surface contour variability (RSCV) using optical coherence tomography (OCT). METHODS. The peripapillary region in one eye of each participant was scanned over an 8 × 8 mm area with a swept source OCT prototype. The retinal surface contour was sampled at approximately 1.5- to 3.5-mm radius circles centered on the optic nerve head. The RSCV is defined as the average log value within a middle spatial frequency band of the Fourier transform to the elevation profile of the inner retinal surface. The spatial frequency band was optimized to distinguish glaucoma from normal. Nerve fiber layer thickness (NFLT) was sampled around a 1.7-mm radius circle. Glaucoma severity was assessed by automated static perimetry. RESULTS. We enrolled 17 glaucomatous eyes and 17 healthy eyes. A great majority of the glaucoma group were in the early stage (visual field mean deviation average -2.48 ± 3.73 dB). Significant differences were found for RSCV between glaucoma and control eyes (P < 0.003) at all radii. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AROC = 0.90) of RSCV was best at the 3.5-mm radius. This was not significantly better than NFLT (AROC = 0.84). With the 99% specificity, the glaucoma detection sensitivity was 53% for RSCV and 29% for NFLT (P = 0.13). CONCLUSIONS. Retinal surface contour variability was significantly increased in glaucoma patients. The diagnostic accuracy of RSCV was equal to NFLT in early glaucoma. Since the RSCV detects small-scale focal damage and the average NFLT measures global damage, they provide different diagnostic information that may be synergistic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)OCT438-OCT443
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2016


  • Glaucoma
  • Nerve fiber layer
  • Optical coherence tomography
  • Retinal surface contour variability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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