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Front. Physiol. | doi: 10.3389/fphys.2018.00630

Age-related Changes in Human Schlemm’s Canal: An In Vivo Optical Coherence Tomography-based Study

Yujin Zhao1,  Junyi Chen1, Xiaobo Yu1,  Jianjiang Xu1, Xinhuai Sun1, 2 and  Jiaxu Hong1, 2, 3*
  • 1Shanghai Eye and ENT Hospital, Fudan University, China
  • 2National Health and Family Planning Commission (China), China
  • 3Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research, Leiden University, Netherlands

Purpose: To investigate age-related changes in human Schlemm’s canal (SC) using spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT).

Methods: A total of 125 normal eyes were imaged using SD-OCT nasally and temporally. The age-related variations of SC sagittal diameter and cross-sectional area (CSA) from four age groups [A (16–20 years), B (21–40 years), C (41–60 years), and D (61–80 years)] were analyzed with Spearman correlation.

Results: The positive detection rates of SC showed a significantly downward trend with age. The mean CSA was 13,296 ± 1,897 μm2 nasally and 14,552 ± 2,589 μm2 temporally. The mean CSA was significantly larger in the temporal than in the nasal region (P < 0.05). Nasal CSA values varied among the four age groups (P = 0.004).

Conclusions: Our study found for the first time that SC in vivo exhibits a morphological variant with age in healthy humans. Clinicians may need to consider this phenomenon when performing examinations targeting SC for glaucoma patients.

Keywords: Schlemm’s canal, Healthy human, Anatomy, Spectral-domain optical coherence tomography, age-related changes

Received: 18 Dec 2017; Accepted: 09 May 2018.

Edited by:

Zhen Cheng, Stanford University, United States

Reviewed by:

Zhen Yuan, University of Macau, Macau
Yu Chen, University of Maryland, United States  

Copyright: © 2018 Zhao, Chen, Yu, Xu, Sun and Hong. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: MD, PhD. Jiaxu Hong, Shanghai Eye and ENT Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, China,