Clinical Implications of In Vivo Lamina Cribrosa Imaging in Glaucoma
The lamina cribrosa (LC) is a multilayered, collagenous, sieve-like structure at the deep optic nerve head, and is presumed to be the primary site of axonal injury. According to biomechanical theory, intraocular pressure-induced posterior deformation of the LC causes blockage of axonal transport and alters the ocular blood flow, so that the axons of the retinal ganglion cells lead to apoptosis, which results in glaucomatous optic disc change. Although most of the research on the LC to date has been limited to experimental animal or histologic studies, the recent advances in optical coherence tomography devices and image processing techniques have made possible the visualization of the LC structure in vivo. LC deformation in glaucoma typically has been evaluated in terms of its position from a structural reference plane (LC depth), entire curvature or shape, thickness, or localized structural change (focal LC defects or LC pore change). In this review, we highlight the methods of assessing LC deformation from in vivo optical coherence tomography scans, and we discuss the clinical implications of the recent investigations of the in vivo structure of LC in glaucoma.