3D MRI used to scan surface area of the eye

Researchers used the method for the first time to gain insight into how myopia and presbyopia affect eye measurements


Researchers have accurately measured the surface area of the eye for the first time using three dimensional MRI scanning.

Academics from City, University of London, Aston University and the University of Bristol said that the measurements will enable researchers to better understand how short or long-sightedness can affect eye measurements as well as providing clues to eye growth.

The study, which has been published in the Journal of Anatomy, is the first to measure retinal surface area in 73 adult participants from white European and south Asian populations using an MRI scanner.

Lead author of the study, Dr Manbir Nagra, explained that previous attempts at measuring retinal surface area and the surface area of the whole eye have been taken from calculations based on retinal photographs, schematic eyes and retinal biopsies of donor eyes.

“In our new study, we used a three-dimensional MRI to produce a detailed characterisation of retinal surface area,” Dr Nagra said. 

“While the technique has been used to determine ocular surface area by others, our approach provides more detailed information, particularly with respect to retinal quadrant surface area,” she added.

Measurements were taken from custom-made software to calculate total internal ocular surface area, retinal surface area, and quadrant retinal surface areas.

Researchers looked at the variation between different regions of the retina, and wanted to discover whether these biometrics varied in axial length (eye length) and in the level of short or long-sightedness.

They found that the mean retinal surface area for the eye was 1363±160mm2, and more myopic eyes and longer axial lengths were associated with larger surface areas.

The study also found that retinal surface area was largest for the superior-temporal quadrant and smallest for the inferior-nasal.