Determination of retinal surface area

Manbir Nagra*, Bernard Gilmartin, Ngoc Jade Thai, Nicola S. Logan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous attempts at determining retinal surface area and surface area of the whole eye have been based upon mathematical calculations derived from retinal photographs, schematic eyes and retinal biopsies of donor eyes. 3-dimensional (3-D) ocular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) allows a more direct measurement, it can be used to image the eye in vivo, and there is no risk of tissue shrinkage. The primary purpose of this study is to compare, using T2-weighted 3D MRI, retinal surface areas for superior-temporal (ST), inferior-temporal (IT), superior-nasal (SN) and inferior-nasal (IN) retinal quadrants. An ancillary aim is to examine whether inter-quadrant variations in area are concordant with reported inter-quadrant patterns of susceptibility to retinal breaks associated with posterior vitreous detachment (PVD). Seventy-three adult participants presenting without retinal pathology (mean age 26.25 ± 6.06 years) were scanned using a Siemens 3-Tesla MRI scanner to provide T2-weighted MR images that demarcate fluid-filled internal structures for the whole eye and provide high-contrast delineation of the vitreous-retina interface. Integrated MRI software generated total internal ocular surface area (TSA). The second nodal point was used to demarcate the origin of the peripheral retina in order to calculate total retinal surface area (RSA) and quadrant retinal surface areas (QRSA) for ST, IT, SN, and IN quadrants. Mean spherical error (MSE) was −2.50 ± 4.03D and mean axial length (AL) 24.51 ± 1.57 mm. Mean TSA and RSA for the RE were 2058 ± 189 and 1363 ± 160 mm2, respectively. Repeated measures anova for QRSA data indicated a significant difference within-quadrants (P < 0.01) which, contrasted with ST (365 ± 43 mm2), was significant for IT (340 ± 40 mm2 P < 0.01), SN (337 ± 40 mm2 P < 0.01) and IN (321 ± 39 mm2 P < 0.01) quadrants. For all quadrants, QRSA was significantly correlated with AL (P < 0.01) and exhibited equivalent increases in retinal area/mm increase in AL. Although the differences between QRSAs are relatively small, there was evidence of concordance with reported inter-quadrant patterns of susceptibility to retinal breaks associated with PVD. The data allow AL to be converted to QRSAs, which will assist further work on inter-quadrant structural variation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-324
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Anatomy
Issue number3
Early online date14 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017

Bibliographical note

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Nagra, M., Gilmartin, B., Thai, N. J., & Logan, N. S. (2017). Determination of retinal surface area. Journal of Anatomy, 231(3), 319-324, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.


  • human ocular anatomy
  • myopia
  • ocular biometry
  • ocular shape
  • retinal surface area


Dive into the research topics of 'Determination of retinal surface area'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this