Assessing ganglion cell layer topography in human albinism using optical coherence tomography

Erica N. Woertz, Bisola S. Omoba, Taylor M. Dunn, Stephanie J. Chiu, Sina Farsiu, Sasha Strul, C. Gail Summers, Arlene V. Drack, Joseph Carroll

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PURPOSE. To test whether ganglion cell layer (GCL) and inner plexiform layer (IPL) topography is altered in albinism. METHODS. Optical coherence tomography scans were analyzed in 30 participants with albinism and 25 control participants. Horizontal and vertical line scans were acquired at the fovea, then strip registered and averaged. The Duke Optical Coherence Tomography Retinal Analysis Program was used to automatically segment the combined GCL and IPL and total retinal thickness, followed by program-assisted manual segmentation of the boundary between the GCL and IPL. Layer thickness and area under the curve (AUC) were calculated within 2.5 mm of the fovea. Nasal-temporal and superior-inferior asymmetry were calculated as an AUC ratio in each quadrant. RESULTS. GCL and IPL topography varied between participants. The summed AUC in all quadrants was similar between groups for both the GCL (P = 0.84) and IPL (P = 0.08). Both groups showed nasal-temporal asymmetry in the GCL, but only participants with albinism had nasal-temporal asymmetry in the IPL. Nasal-temporal asymmetry was greater in albinism for both the GCL (P < 0.0001) and the IPL (P = 0.0006). The GCL usually comprised a greater percentage of the combined GCL and IPL in controls than in albinism. CONCLUSIONS. The GCL and IPL have greater structural variability than previously reported. GCL and IPL topography are significantly altered in albinism, which suggests differences in the spatial distribution of retinal ganglion cells. This finding provides insight into foveal development and structure-function relationships in foveal hypoplasia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number36
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2020


  • Albinism
  • Foveal development
  • Foveal hypoplasia
  • Ganglion cell layer
  • Optical coherence tomography

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    Woertz, E. N., Omoba, B. S., Dunn, T. M., Chiu, S. J., Farsiu, S., Strul, S., Gail Summers, C., Drack, A. V., & Carroll, J. (2020). Assessing ganglion cell layer topography in human albinism using optical coherence tomography. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, 61(3), [36].