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  • Letter to the Editor
  • Open Access

Choroidal thickness changes measured by enhanced depth imaging optical coherence tomography in third trimester pregnant women

International Journal of Retina and Vitreous20184:14

https://doi.org/10.1186/s40942-018-0118-y

  • Received: 21 February 2018
  • Accepted: 26 March 2018
  • Published:

Abstract

The aim of this article is to underline the effect of pregnancy on the variations of choroidal thickness caused by hormonal and haemodynamic changes.

Keywords

  • Choroid
  • Choroidal thickness
  • Pregnancy
  • Third trimester
  • Optical coherence tomography
  • Hormonal changes

Dear editor,

We read with great interest the article “Comparative analysis of choroidal thickness in third trimester pregnant women” recently published in the International Journal of Vitreous and Retina.

In this cross-sectional study Benfica et al. [1] analyzed the measurements of choroidal thickness in healthy third trimester pregnant women in comparison with healthy non-pregnant women using optical coherence tomography (OCT), reporting no statistical difference both in the mean subfoveal choroidal thickness and in the ten different measurements of choroidal thickness in the macula [1]. The authors should be congratulated for the prospective study design, the adoption of the enhanced depth imaging OCT (EDI-OCT) technique, which allows a better visualization of choroidal morphology compared with the traditional spectral-domain OCT (SD-OCT), and for having performed all the scans at the same time in the morning, in order to avoid diurnal variations of choroidal thickness, as already reported in literature [2].

However, we would like to point out some methodological concerns on the findings in this study. Firstly, the authors did not specify if the complete eye examination included slit-lamp biomicroscopy, color fundus photography, axial length and anterior chamber measurements, ophthalmoscopy fundus examination and the measurement of intraocular pressure, central corneal thickness and ocular perfusion pressure (OPP), all parameters that have been shown to affect the choroidal thickness [3]. In this regard, the Beijing Eye Study showed a significant positive association between a thicker choroid and ocular biometric parameters such as a shorter axial length, a deeper anterior chamber depth and a flatter cornea [4]. Moreover, Kim et al. [5] demonstrated that choroid thickness was significantly associated with OPP in healthy subjects. Thus, given the strong effect displayed by the above-mentioned parameters on choroidal thickness, a more detailed disclosure of the ophthalmological examination should have been provided.

Secondly, in this study the authors found a thicker choroid in pregnant women than non- pregnant women, however the results were not statistically significant (304.1 + 9.6 µm in the non-pregnant group vs 318.1 + 15.6 µm in the pregnant group, p = 0.446); these findings could have been limited by the relatively small sample size (27 healthy pregnant women in the examined group and 34 healthy non-pregnant women in the control group) [1]. In fact, Liu et al. [6] reported a in a meta-analysis evaluating 8 clinical studies a significantly greater choroidal thickness in pregnant women compared with non-pregnant women with the same age. The underlying mechanism behind the increase of choroidal thickness would reside in the haemodynamic and hormonal changes occurring in pregnancy, with an increased blood flow in this tissue combined with a decreased vascular resistance. In fact, the choroid is a tissue rich of vessels, providing the 85% of ocular perfusion and therefore it is the first ocular layer to be affected by the overall increase of blood volume during pregnancy [7].

In conclusion, further larger scale studies with broader sample sizes should be performed, in order to better describe the complex mechanism of choroidal thickness changes during pregnancy.

Abbreviations

EDI-OCT: 

enhanced depth imaging optical coherence tomography

OCT: 

optical coherence tomography

OPP: 

ocular perfusion pressure

SD-OCT: 

spectral-domain optical coherence tomography

Declarations

Authors’ contributions

All the authors contributed to the article. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Availability of data and materials

The datasets generated and/or analysed during the current study are available in the [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/] repository.

Consent for publication

Not applicable.

Ethics approval and consent to participate

Not applicable.

Funding

The authors received no specific funding for this article.

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Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Authors’ Affiliations

(1)
Department of Ophthalmology, Ospedale Policlinico San Martino, Largo R. Benzi 10, 16131 Genoa, Italy
(2)
Academic Unit of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ospedale Policlinico San Martino, Largo R. Benzi 10, 16131 Genoa, Italy
(3)
Department of Neurosciences, Rehabilitation, Ophthalmology, Genetics, Maternal and Child Health (DiNOGMI), University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy

References

  1. Benfica CZ, Zanella T, Farias LB, Oppermann MLR, Canani LHS, Lavinsky D. Comparative analysis of choroidal thickness in third trimester pregnant women. Int J Retina Vitreous. 2018;4:6. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40942-018-0108-0.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
  2. Tan CS, Ouyang Y, Ruiz H, Sadda SR. Diurnal variation of choroidal thickness in normal, healthy subjects measured by spectral domain optical coherence tomography. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2012;53(1):261–6. https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.11-8782.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Roskal-Walek J, Laudanska-Olszewska I, Biskup M, Gierada M, Odrobina D. Choroidal thickness in women with uncomplicated pregnancy: literature review. Biomed Res Int. 2017;2017:5694235. https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/5694235.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Wei WB, Xu L, Jonas JB, Shao L, Du KF, Wang S, et al. Subfoveal choroidal thickness: the Beijing Eye Study. Ophthalmology. 2013;120(1):175–80. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ophtha.2012.07.048.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Kim M, Kim SS, Kwon HJ, Koh HJ, Lee SC. Association between choroidal thickness and ocular perfusion pressure in young, healthy subjects: enhanced depth imaging optical coherence tomography study. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2012;53(12):7710–7. https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.12-10464.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Liu R, Kuang GP, Luo DX, Lu XH. Choroidal thickness in pregnant women: a cross-sectional study. Int J Ophthalmol. 2016;9(8):1200–6. https://doi.org/10.18240/ijo.2016.08.18.PubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
  7. Kara N, Sayin N, Pirhan D, Vural AD, Araz-Ersan HB, Tekirdag AI, et al. Evaluation of subfoveal choroidal thickness in pregnant women using enhanced depth imaging optical coherence tomography. Curr Eye Res. 2014;39(6):642–7. https://doi.org/10.3109/02713683.2013.855236.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright

© The Author(s) 2018

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