When using OCT, applying an ethnicity-specific normative database can help to improve the specificity of glaucoma detection in the Caucasian population, a recent study reported. Researchers recently found the percent of peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer (pRNFL) abnormal color-codes decreased significantly with the more diverse database.

This cross-sectional study included 219 healthy eyes (108 Caucasian and 111 Chinese) to construct an ethnicity-specific normative database for pRNFL and macular ganglion cell complex (GCC) thickness, which a team then tested in 180 eyes with or without glaucoma (102 Caucasian and 78 Chinese).

The researchers found that healthy Caucasian participants had a thinner pRNFL than Chinese participants in the overall average thickness, as well as in the superior, inferior and temporal quadrants. They noted that macular GCC thickness did not differ between the groups.

After applying the ethnicity-specific normative database, the investigators observed a significant decrease in the percentage of pRNFL abnormal color-codes for the overall average thickness in Caucasian patients. They added that this resulted in a significant increase in the specificity of glaucoma detection in this patient population. They did not see any significant changes when applying the ethnicity-specific normative database for macular GCC thickness.

“These findings suggest there may be utility in having ethnicity-specific normative databases for pRNFL thickness,” the study authors concluded in their paper.

Dhiman R, Chawla R, Azad SV, et al. Peripapillary retinal and choroidal perfusion in nonarteritic ischemic optic neuropathy using optical coherence tomography angiography. Optom Vis Sci. July 29, 2020. [Epub ahead of print].