Correlation of outer nuclear layer thickness with cone density values in patients with retinitis pigmentosa and healthy subjects

Moreno Menghini, Brandon Lujan, Shiri Zayit-Soudry, Reema Syed, Travis C. Porco, Kristine Bayabo, Joseph Carroll, Austin Roorda, Jacque L. Duncan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Scopus citations


Purpose. We studied the correlation between outer nuclear layer (ONL) thickness and cone density in normal eyes and eyes with retinitis pigmentosa (RP).

Methods. Spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) scans were acquired using a displaced pupil entry position of the scanning beam to distinguish Henle’s fiber layer from the ONL in 20 normal eyes (10 subjects) and 12 eyes with RP (7 patients). Cone photoreceptors were imaged using adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscopy. The ONL thickness and cone density were measured at 0.58 intervals along the horizontal meridian through the fovea nasally and temporally. The ONL thickness and cone density were correlated using Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient r.

Results. Cone densities averaged over the central 68 were lower in eyes with RP than normal, but showed high variability in both groups. The ONL thickness and cone density were significantly correlated when all retinal eccentricities were combined (r = 0.74); the correlation for regions within 0.58 to 1.5° eccentricity was stronger (r = 0.67) than between 1.5° and 3.0° eccentricity (r = 0.23). Although cone densities were lower between 0.58 and 1.5° in eyes with RP, ONL thickness measures at identical retinal locations were similar in the two groups (P = 0.31), and interindividual variation was high for ONL and cone density measures. Although ONL thickness and retinal eccentricity were important predictors of cone density, eccentricity was over 3 times more important.

Conclusions:. The ONL thickness and cone density were correlated in normal eyes and eyes with RP, but both were strongly correlated with retinal eccentricity, precluding estimation of cone density from ONL thickness. ( number, NCT00254605.)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)372-381
Number of pages10
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 25 2015
Externally publishedYes



  • Adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscopy
  • Cone density
  • Optical coherence tomography
  • Outer nuclear layer thickness
  • Retinitis pigmentosa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

Cite this