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01.12.2017 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

BMC Ophthalmology 1/2017

Segmentation error in spectral domain optical coherence tomography measures of the retinal nerve fibre layer thickness in idiopathic intracranial hypertension

BMC Ophthalmology > Ausgabe 1/2017
Anuriti Aojula, Susan P Mollan, John Horsburgh, Andreas Yiangou, Kiera A Markey, James L Mitchell, William J Scotton, Pearse A Keane, Alexandra J Sinclair
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s12886-017-0652-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) imaging is being increasingly used in clinical practice for the monitoring of papilloedema. The aim is to characterise the extent and location of the Retinal Nerve Fibre Layer (RNFL) Thickness automated segmentation error (SegE) by manual refinement, in a cohort of Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (IIH) patients with papilloedema and compare this to controls.


Baseline Spectral Domain OCT (SDOCT) scans from patients with IIH, and controls with no retinal or optic nerve pathology, were examined. The internal limiting membrane and RNFL thickness of the most severely affected eye was examined for SegE and re-segmented. Using ImageJ, the total area of the RNFL thickness was calculated pre and post re-segmentation and the percentage change was determined. The distribution of RNFL thickness error was qualitatively assessed.


Significantly greater SegE (p = 0.009) was present in RNFL thickness total area, assessed using ImageJ, in IIH patients (n = 46, 5% ± 0–58%) compared to controls (n = 14, 1% ± 0–6%). This was particularly evident in moderate to severe optic disc swelling (n = 23, 10% ± 0–58%, p < 0.001). RNFL thickness was unable to be quantified using SDOCT in patients with severe papilloedema.


SegE remain a concern for clinicians using SDOCT to monitor papilloedema in IIH, particularly in the assessment of eyes with moderate to severe oedema. Systematic assessment and manual refinement of SegE is therefore important to ensure the accuracy in longitudinal monitoring of patients.
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