Racial Differences in Optic Disc Topography: Baseline Results from the Confocal Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscopy Ancillary Study to the Ocular Hypertension Treatment Study

Linda M. Zangwill, Robert N. Weinreb, Charles C. Berry, Amanda R. Smith, Keri A. Dirkes, Anne L. Coleman, Jody R. Piltz-Seymour, Jeffrey M. Liebmann, George A. Cioffi, Gary Trick, James D Brandt, Mae O. Gordon, Michael A. Kass

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74 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine racial differences in optic disc topography among ocular hypertensive participants in the Ocular Hypertension Treatment Study. Methods: Four hundred thirty-nine participants from 7 Ocular Hypertension Treatment Study centers who had good-quality baseline images obtained using a quantitative 3-dimensional confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscope, the Heidelberg Retina Tomograph (Heidelberg Engineering, Dossenheim, Germany), were included in this study. The first 10°- or 15°-field of view mean topographic image acquired was included in all analyses. Differences in Heidelberg Retina Tomograph topographic optic disc parameter measurements by self-identified race were assessed using a mixed-effects linear model to control for confounders and for the use of both eyes in the model. Results: By self-attribution, 74 (17%) of the 439 participants were of African origin, 329 (75%) were white, 24 (5%) were Hispanic, and 12 (3%) were Native American, Native Alaskan, Asian, Pacific Islander, or unknown. The African American participants had statistically significantly (P<.001) larger mean (SD) optic disc areas than the other participants, 2.17 (0.41) mm2 vs 1.87 (0.38) mm,2 respectively, African American participants had a larger cup area, cup volume, cup depth, neuroretinal rim area, rim volume, and smaller rim-optic disc area ratios than the other participants. No difference between African American and the other participants was found for cup shape and retinal nerve fiber layer thickness. After controlling for optic disc area, none of the differences between African American and the other participants found in the univariate analysis remained statistically significant (P>.10). Conclusions: This study demonstrated in a large cohort of subjects with ocular hypertension, that African Americans have significantly larger optic discs, optic cups, neuroretinal rims, and cup-disc ratios than other racial groups. Furthermore, this study found that differences in topographic optic disc parameters between African Americans with ocular hypertension and other racial groups are largely explained by the larger optic disc area in the African Americans. These results highlight the need to consider race and optic disc size when evaluating the appearance of the optic disc in glaucoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-28
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Ophthalmology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology

Cite this

Zangwill, L. M., Weinreb, R. N., Berry, C. C., Smith, A. R., Dirkes, K. A., Coleman, A. L., Piltz-Seymour, J. R., Liebmann, J. M., Cioffi, G. A., Trick, G., Brandt, J. D., Gordon, M. O., & Kass, M. A. (2004). Racial Differences in Optic Disc Topography: Baseline Results from the Confocal Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscopy Ancillary Study to the Ocular Hypertension Treatment Study. Archives of Ophthalmology, 122(1), 22-28. https://doi.org/10.1001/archopht.122.1.22