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Dark adaptation in relation to choroidal thickness in healthy young subjects: A cross-sectional, observational study

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Inger Christine Munch, Cigdem Altuntas, Xiao Qiang Li, Gregory R Jackson, Oliver Niels Klefter, Michael Larsen

Background: Dark adaptation is an energy-requiring process in the outer retina nourished by the profusely perfused choroid. We hypothesized that variations in choroidal thickness might affect the rate of dark adaptation. Method: Cross-sectional, observational study of 42 healthy university students (mean age 25 ± 2.0 years, 29 % men) who were examined using an abbreviated automated dark adaptometry protocol with a 2° diameter stimulus centered 5° above the point of fixation. The early, linear part of the rod-mediated dark adaptation curve was analyzed to extract the time required to reach a sensitivity of 5.0 × 10-3 cd/m2 (time to rod intercept) and the slope (rod adaptation rate). The choroid was imaged using enhanced-depth imaging spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (EDI-OCT). Results: The time to the rod intercept was 7.3 ± 0.94 (range 5.1 - 10.2) min. Choroidal thickness 2.5° above the fovea was 348 ± 104 (range 153-534) μm. There was no significant correlation between any of the two measures of rod-mediated dark adaptation and choroidal thickness (time to rod intercept versus choroidal thickness 0.072 (CI95 -0.23 to 0.38) min/100 μm, P = 0.64, adjusted for age and sex). There was no association between the time-to-rod-intercept or the dark adaptation rate and axial length, refraction, gender or age. Conclusion: Choroidal thickness, refraction and ocular axial length had no detectable effect on rod-mediated dark adaptation in healthy young subjects. Our results do not support that variations in dark adaptation can be attributed to variations in choroidal thickness.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105
JournalBMC Ophthalmology
Number of pages7
StatePublished - 2016

    Research areas

  • Choroidal thickness, dark adaptation, EDI-OCT, enhanced-depth optical coherence tomography, time-to-rod-intercept

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