In Vivo Sublayer Analysis of Human Retinal Inner Plexiform Layer Obtained by Visible-Light Optical Coherence Tomography

Zeinab Ghassabi, Roman V. Kuranov, Joel S. Schuman, Ronald Zambrano, Mengfei Wu, Mengling Liu, Behnam Tayebi, Yuanbo Wang, Ian Rubinoff, Xiaorong Liu, Gadi Wollstein, Hao F. Zhang, Hiroshi Ishikawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE. Growing evidence suggests that dendrite retraction or degeneration in a subpopulation of the retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) may precede detectable soma abnormalities and RGC death in glaucoma. Visualization of the lamellar structure of the inner plexiform layer (IPL) could advance clinical management and fundamental understanding of glaucoma. We investigated whether visible-light optical coherence tomography (visOCT) could detect the difference in the IPL sublayer thicknesses between small cohorts of healthy and glaucomatous subjects. METHOD. We imaged nine healthy and five glaucomatous subjects with vis-OCT. Four of the healthy subjects were scanned three times each in two separate visits, and five healthy and five glaucoma subjects were scanned three times during a single visit. IPL sublayers were manually segmented using averaged A-line profiles. RESULTS. The mean ages of glaucoma and healthy subjects are 59.6 ± 13.4 and 45.4 ± 14.4 years (P = 0.02.) The visual field mean deviations (MDs) are -26.4 to -7.7 dB in glaucoma patients and -1.6 to 1.1 dB in healthy subjects (P = 0.002). Median coefficients of variation (CVs) of intrasession repeatability for the entire IPL and three sublayers are 3.1%, 5.6%, 6.9%, and 5.6% in healthy subjects and 1.8%, 6.0%, 7.7%, and 6.2% in glaucoma patients, respectively. The mean IPL thicknesses are 36.2 ± 1.5 μm in glaucomatous and 40.1 ± 1.7 μm in healthy eyes (P = 0.003). CONCLUSIONS. IPL sublayer analysis revealed that the middle sublayer could be responsible for the majority of IPL thinning in glaucoma. Vis-OCT quantified IPL sublayers with good repeatability in both glaucoma and healthy subjects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number18
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • IPL sublayers
  • Inner plexiform layer
  • OCT
  • Spectroscopy
  • Vis-OCT
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Male
  • Nerve Fibers/pathology
  • Visual Fields/physiology
  • Intraocular Pressure/physiology
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence/methods
  • Adult
  • Female
  • ROC Curve
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells/pathology
  • Aged
  • Glaucoma/diagnosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Ophthalmology


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