Estimating the clinical usefulness of optic disc biometry for detecting glaucomatous change over time

G J M Tangelder, N J Reus, H G Lemij

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


PURPOSE: First, to determine the absolute measurement precision of scanning laser ophthalmoscopy (SLO) parameters, by expressing them as 95% limits of agreement (LA(95%)). Second, to propose a method for mathematically estimating the clinical ability of a parameter to monitor disease progression, expressed as the Discriminating Capacity Index (DCI).

METHODS: We measured the optic disc of 14 healthy volunteers and 14 glaucoma patients. LA(95%)-values were calculated from the average standard deviation of three measurements on the same day for repeatability, and three measurements on separate days within a 6-week period for reproducibility. We then calculated the DCI by dividing the measurement range by its LA(95%) in healthy subjects and glaucoma patients separately. Thus, the DCI takes into account both the dynamic range of disease progression and the extent of measurement variance, providing an index of the possible clinical usefulness of a parameter. As the DCI is dimensionless it allows comparison across various parameters and across technologies.

RESULTS: In the glaucoma group, the SLO parameters with the highest DCIs were 'volume below' (DCI, 9.38) and 'mean contour depth' (DCI, 8.02). In the healthy group, 'Neuroretinal rim area' had the highest index (DCI, 2.15).

CONCLUSION: SLO optic disc biometry is uniformly reproducible and may prove a clinically useful method for glaucoma follow-up, due to the high DCI found for several parameters. The capacity to detect conversion from health to glaucoma is less pronounced, possibly due to a larger biological variability found in healthy volunteers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)755-63
Number of pages9
JournalEye (London, England)
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2006


  • Biometry/methods
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glaucoma/diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Fibers/pathology
  • Observer Variation
  • Ophthalmoscopy/methods
  • Optic Disk/pathology
  • Optic Nerve Diseases/diagnosis
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells/pathology


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