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Do Optic Discs get “Thinner” or “Narrower?”

Spaeth, George L. MD; Jatla, Kalpana K. MD; Ichhpujani, Parul MD

doi: 10.1097/IJG.0b013e3181b6e5fc
Original Studies
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Purpose To survey the literature to determine how the dimensions of the neuroretinal rim are commonly described, and to clarify and standardize the description of changes in the dimensions of the neuroretinal rim in glaucoma.

Materials and Methods Literature review of 275 articles describing the neuroretinal rim in glaucoma and a survey of ophthalmologists describing 2 disc photographs. Frequencies of descriptors of the neuroretinal rim were surveyed, which included “thinning” and “narrowing.”

Results Of the 275 articles, 80 described the neuroretinal rim clinically. Forty-one articles used “thinning” to describe progressive loss of rim tissue in a radial axis, 13 articles used “narrowing” and rest used “width” to describe the characteristics of neuroretinal rim. Of the 295 ophthalmologists, 264 used “thinner,” whereas 31 used “narrower” to describe the neuroretinal rim.

Conclusions Accurate phenotyping is an essential part of patient care, research, and training. “Thinning” is currently used more commonly than “narrowing” in the literature to describe progressive loss of the neuroretinal rim in a radial axis. It would be appropriate to use “narrowing” for radial loss or decrease in width and “thinning” for decrease in the thickness of the rim.

Anna V. Goldberg Glaucoma Service, Wills Eye Institute, Philadelphia, PA

Reprints: George L. Spaeth, MD, Anna V. Goldberg Glaucoma Service, Wills Eye Institute, 840 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107 (e-mail: gspaeth@willseye.org).

Received from publication March 25, 2009

accepted July 10, 2009

The authors have no proprietary interest and have not received any funding for this study.

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.