Effectiveness of a qualitative approach toward evaluating OCT imaging for detecting glaucomatous damage

Zhichao Wu, Denis S.D. Weng, Rashmi Rajshekhar, Robert Ritch, Donald C. Hood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine whether a qualitative approach toward evaluating optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging improves the ability to detect glaucomatous damage compared to a conventional metric of global circumpapillary retinal nerve fiber layer (cpRNFL) thickness. Methods: A total of 394 healthy eyes and 272 glaucoma eyes were evaluated. Glaucoma eyes were categorized as perimetric (156 eyes) based on a history of three or more consecutive abnormal 24-2 visual field tests or suspected glaucoma if they did not (116 eyes). Customized one-page reports derived using OCT volume scans of the optic disc and macula from these eyes were qualitatively graded for the probability of optic neuropathy affecting the eye. Results: The sensitivity of detecting perimetric glaucoma eyes with the global circumpapillary RNFL thickness metric and qualitative evaluation of the OCT imaging results were 86.5% and 95.5% at a specificity of 95%, being significantly higher for the latter (P < 0.001). There were seven eyes with perimetric glaucoma missed by the qualitative evaluation. Based upon examination of all available visual fields, at least four of these seven eyes had visual fields that either improved or had abnormalities that were inconsistent over time or with patterns of glaucomatous damage. Conclusions: Qualitative evaluation of OCT imaging results allows glaucoma eyes with repeatable visual field abnormalities to be detected with a high level of accuracy, performing better than a conventional summary metric of global cpRNFL thickness. Translational Relevance: Clinical detection of glaucomatous damage with OCT imaging can be optimized through a qualitative evaluation of its results.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7
JournalTranslational Vision Science and Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Diagnosis
  • Glaucoma
  • Optical coherence tomography
  • Qualitative


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