Differences in Optic Nerve Head, Retinal Nerve Fiber Layer, and Ganglion Cell Complex Parameters Between Caucasian and Chinese Subjects

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To compare optic nerve head, peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer (pRNFL), and ganglion cell complex (GCC) parameters between Caucasian and ethnic Chinese.

Materials and Methods:

Normal subjects above 40 years old and self-identified as being Caucasian and Chinese were recruited. They were evaluated with spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (RTVue-100). Parameters related to the optic nerve head, pRNFL, and GCC analysis protocols were acquired. Multivariable linear regression was performed adjusting for potential confounders.


Data from 116 Caucasian and 130 Chinese subjects were available for analysis. Mean age of all participants was 66.72 (SD 10.82) years. There were statistically significant differences for disc area (DA), area cup-to-disc, vertical cup-to-disc, and cup volume (P=0.02, 0.004, 0.02, and 0.03, respectively), greater in Chinese. After adjusting for age, sex, axial length (AL), intraocular pressure (IOP), DA, and GCC thickness, Chinese subjects had significantly greater thickness in all pRNFL parameters (mean differences ranged between 4.29 and 9.93 μm; all P<0.001) except the nasal quadrant. GCC outcomes were also adjusted for DA and pRNFL; Caucasians had significantly higher average GCC and inferior GCC (mean difference 2.97 and 3.45 μm, respectively; P<0.01), whereas the Chinese group had significantly higher ganglion cell global loss volume (mean difference 2.47 %, P<0.001).


This study suggests there is significantly greater pRNFL thickness in Chinese, which were independent of age, AL, IOP, and DA, and possibly greater GCC in Caucasians after adjustment for age, AL, IOP, DA, and pRNFL thickness.

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