Retinal nerve fiber layer reflectometry must consider directional reflectance

Xiang Run Huang, Robert W. Knighton, William J. Feuer, Jianzhong Qiao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Recent studies reveal that measurements of retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) reflectance provide more sensitive detection of glaucomatous damage than RNFL thickness, but most do not consider directional reflectance of the RNFL, an important source of variability. This study quantitatively compared RNFL directional reflectance, represented by an angular spread function (ASF), measured at different scattering angles, different wavelengths and different distances from the optic nerve head (ONH) and for bundles with different thicknesses (T). An ASF was characterized by its amplitude (A) and width (W). Internal reflectance of a bundle was expressed as A/T. The study found that A varied significantly with scattering angle and wavelength and that A/T was different among bundles but constant along the same bundle, indicating that the internal structure of axons may vary among bundles but does not change with distance. This study also found that W was larger near the ONH and at longer wavelengths, but did not depend on scattering angle or T. Because a 4.3° change in incident angle can change reflected intensity by a factor of 2.7, accounting for directional reflectance should improve the accuracy and reproducibility of RNFL reflectance measurements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-33
Number of pages12
JournalBiomedical Optics Express
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 4 2015


  • Light propagation in tissues
  • Ophthalmology
  • Optical diagnostics for medicine
  • Tissue characterization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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