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Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science
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DOI: 10.1167/iovs.16-19072; PubMed PMID: 27273598; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4898203
Purpose: To evaluate how metrics used to describe the cone mosaic change in response to simulated photoreceptor undersampling (i.e., cell loss or misidentification).
Methods: Using an adaptive optics ophthalmoscope, we acquired images of the cone mosaic from the center of fixation to 10° along the temporal, superior, inferior, and nasal meridians in 20 healthy subjects. Regions of interest (n = 1780) were extracted at regular intervals along each meridian. Cone mosaic geometry was assessed using a variety of metrics − density, density recovery profile distance (DRPD), nearest neighbor distance (NND), intercell distance (ICD), farthest neighbor distance (FND), percentage of six-sided Voronoi cells, nearest neighbor regularity (NNR), number of neighbors regularity (NoNR), and Voronoi cell area regularity (VCAR). The “performance” of each metric was evaluated by determining the level of simulated loss necessary to obtain 80% statistical power.
Results: Of the metrics assessed, NND and DRPD were the least sensitive to undersampling, classifying mosaics that lost 50% of their coordinates as indistinguishable from normal. The NoNR was the most sensitive, detecting a significant deviation from normal with only a 10% cell loss.
Conclusions: The robustness of cone spacing metrics makes them unsuitable for reliably detecting small deviations from normal or for tracking small changes in the mosaic over time. In contrast, regularity metrics are more sensitive to diffuse loss and, therefore, better suited for detecting such changes, provided the fraction of misidentified cells is minimal. Combining metrics with a variety of sensitivities may provide a more complete picture of the integrity of the photoreceptor mosaic.
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