Effect of Head Tilt and Ocular Compensatory Mechanisms on Retinal Nerve Fiber Layer Measurements by Cirrus Spectral Domain and Spectralis Optical Coherence Tomography in Normal Subjects

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Abstract

Purpose:

To determine the effect of head tilt and ocular compensatory mechanisms on retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness measurements using the Cirrus and Spectralis spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (OCT) in healthy eyes. Our secondary objective was to assess the visual influence on ocular compensatory mechanisms during head tilt.

Materials and Methods:

This is a prospective, observational study. A single randomly selected eye was scanned undilated in 3 positions (baseline, right, and left tilt) using both machines. In addition, patching was also done for the contralateral eye during head tilt and RNFL measurements repeated. The paired t test was used to analyze effect on RNFL thickness. One-way repeated-measures analysis of variance was used to compare differences in RNFL measurements.

Results:

In Cirrus OCT RNFL analysis, ipsilateral head tilt resulted in superior thinning and temporal thickening, whereas contralateral head tilt resulted in inferior thinning, nasal thickening, as well as temporal thickening (all P<0.05). Head tilt did not cause any significant change in RNFL thickness with Spectralis OCT (P>0.05). Patching the contralateral eye also did not alter Cirrus RNFL measurement errors due to head tilt.

Conclusions:

Head tilt can affect the measurement of the RNFL thickness in Cirrus OCT, and ocular compensatory mechanisms were not sufficient to prevent this. In contrast, Spectralis OCT RNFL thickness measurements were not affected by head tilt. Patching the contralateral eye during head tilt in Cirrus OCT also did not affect RNFL variability. The visual influence on ocular compensatory mechanisms during head tilt appears insignificant.

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