Spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) has an integral role in the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma. Understanding the types of artifacts commonly seen in the imaging of patients being evaluated for glaucoma will help physicians better implement these data in the care of patients.
To determine the frequency and distribution of SD-OCT imaging artifacts in patients being evaluated for glaucoma and to provide examples of common artifacts.
Design, Setting, and Participants
A retrospective cross-sectional study design was used to examine SD-OCT images (using Spectralis SD-OCT) of 277 consecutive patients who had a diagnosis of glaucoma of any stage or had suspected glaucoma. Retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) and macular thickness scans were included. For each scan, the final printout and the source images that generated the final printout were examined. If present, artifacts were classified as evident on the final printout or not and were categorized as to the primary source of the artifact (eg, ocular pathologic features or technician errors). Examples of common artifacts are provided.
Main Outcomes and Measures
The presence of imaging artifacts.
In 277 consecutive patients, 131 macular thickness scans were obtained, and 277 RNFL scans were obtained. Of the macular thickness scans, 37 (28.2%; 95% CI, 20.8%-36.1%) had imaging artifacts. Six of these artifacts were not obvious on the final printout. Of the RNFL scans, 55 (19.9%; 95% CI, 15.2%-24.6%) contained artifacts. Seven of these artifacts were not evident on the final printout. The most common cause of artifacts for macular thickness and RNFL scans was ocular pathologic features, primarily the presence of an epiretinal membrane.
Conclusions and Relevance
It is likely that SD-OCT–related imaging artifacts occur in 15.2% to 36.1% of scans obtained in patients being evaluated for glaucoma. Some of these artifacts may not be evident on the final printout. Physicians should be alert to the possibility of artifacts, particularly in patients with ocular pathologic features such as an epiretinal membrane.