University of Oulu

Pitkänen, J., Liinamaa, J., Leiviskä, I. & Saarela, V. (2023) Morphology of the optic nerve head and factors affecting it in the Northern Finland birth cohort. Acta Ophthalmologica, 101, 575–581. Available from:

Morphology of the optic nerve head and factors affecting it in the Northern Finland birth cohort

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Author: Pitkänen, Joel1,2; Liinamaa, Johanna1,2; Leiviskä, Ilmari1;
Organizations: 1PEDEGO Research Unit, University of Oulu and Medical Research Center, Oulu, Finland
2Department of Ophthalmology, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-10-03


Purpose: To assess topographic characteristics of the optic nerve head (ONH) and retinal nerve fibre layer (RNFL) and study the effect of ocular and physiological factors on them in a middle-aged population.

Methods: A 1552-person randomised sample from Northern Finland population aged 45–49 was examined. Laser scanning tomography and optical coherency tomography were performed to obtain measurements for ONH and RNFL morphology. Measurements of the RNFL included global thickness and the six zones used in automated structure–function analysis (S–F analysis). Influence of central corneal thickness (CCT), refractive correction, intraocular pressure (IOP), anterior chamber angle, gender, blood pressure, height, weight and body mass index (BMI) on tomographic data was analysed.

Results: The optic disc area had a strong correlation with all other parameters of ONH morphology (R = 0.261 to 0.706) as did spherical equivalent (R = −0.280 to 0.280). The correlations between ONH and RNFL measurements were weaker (R = 0.057 to 0.180). Gender, CCT, anterior chamber angle, blood pressure, height and BMI had statistically significant, yet feeble, correlations with a number of ONH parameters.

Conclusion: Other than spherical equivalent, the studied anatomical and physiological attributes had little predictive value on the ONH morphology. The optic disc area itself had a significant effect on other measurements of ONH tomography and should be taken into consideration when the thresholds for normal ONH morphology are calculated.

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Series: Acta ophthalmologica
ISSN: 1755-375X
ISSN-E: 1755-3776
ISSN-L: 1755-375X
Volume: 101
Issue: 5
Pages: 575 - 581
DOI: 10.1111/aos.15642
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3125 Otorhinolaryngology, ophthalmology
Funding: This study has received funding from the Silmäsäätiö Foundation, the Suomen Silmälääkäriyhdistys, Evald ja Hilda Nissin säätiö Foundation and the Glaukooma Tukisäätiö Lux Foundation. The funding organisations had no role in the design or conduct of this study. The authors have no conflict of interest. NFBC1966 received financial support from University of Oulu Grant no. 24000692, Oulu University Hospital Grant no. 24301140, ERDF European Regional Development Fund Grant no. 539/2010 A31592. There are no competing interests for any author.
Copyright information: © 2023 The Authors. Acta Ophthalmologica published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Acta Ophthalmologica Scandinavica Foundation. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.