Response of the retinal nerve fiber layer reflectance and thickness to optic nerve crush

Xiang Run Huang, Wei Kong, Jianzhong Qiao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


PURPOSE. To study the effects of acute optic nerve damage on the reflectance of the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) and to compare the time courses of changes of RNFL reflectance and thickness. METHODS. A rat model of optic nerve crush (ONC) was compared with previously studied normal retinas. The reflectance and thickness of the RNFL were studied at 1 to 5 weeks after ONC. Reflectance spectra from 400 to 830 nm were measured for eyes with ONC, their contralateral untreated eyes, and eyes with sham surgery. Directional reflectance was studied by varying the angle of light incidence. RNFL thickness was measured by confocal microscopy. RESULTS. After ONC, the RNFL reflectance remained directional. At 1 week, RNFL reflectance decreased significantly at all wavelengths (P < 0.001), whereas there was no significant change in RNFL thickness (P ¼ 0.739). At 2 weeks, both RNFL reflectance and thickness decreased significantly, and by 5 weeks they declined to approximately 40% and 30%, respectively, of the normal values. Although RNFL reflectance decreased at all wavelengths, there was a greater reduction at short wavelengths. Spectral shape at long wavelengths was similar to the normal. Some of these changes were also found in the contralateral untreated eyes, but none of these changes were found in eyes with sham surgery. CONCLUSIONS. Decrease of RNFL reflectance after ONC occurs prior to thinning of the RNFL and the decrease is more prominent at short wavelengths. Direct measurement of RNFL reflectance, especially at short wavelengths, may provide early detection of axonal damage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2094-2103
Number of pages10
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 2018


  • Directional reflectance
  • Optic nerve crush
  • Optical properties
  • Retinal nerve fiber layer
  • Thinning of the RNFL

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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