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Purpose: The lamina cribrosa (LC) depends on the sclera for support. The support must be provided through the LC insertions. Although a continuous insertion over the whole LC periphery is often assumed, LC insertions are actually discrete locations where LC collagenous beams meet the sclera. We hypothesized that LC insertions vary in number, size, and shape by quadrant and depth.

Methods: Coronal cryosections through the full LCs from six healthy monkey eyes were imaged using instant polarized light microscopy. The images were registered into a stack, on which we manually marked LC insertion outlines, nothing their position in-depth and quadrant (inferior, superior, nasal, or temporal). From the marks, we determined the insertion number, width, angle to the canal wall (90 degrees = perpendicular), and insertion ratio (fraction of LC periphery represented by insertions). Using linear mixed effect models, we determined if the insertion characteristics were associated with depth or quadrant.

Results: Insertions in the anterior LC were sparser, narrower, and more slanted than those in deeper LC (P values < 0.001). There were more insertions spanning a larger ratio of the canal wall in the middle LC than in the anterior and posterior (P values < 0.001). In the nasal quadrant, the insertion angles were significantly smaller (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: LC insertions vary substantially and significantly over the canal. The sparser, narrower, and more slanted insertions of the anterior-most LC may not provide the robust support afforded by insertions of the middle and posterior LC. These variations may contribute to the progressive deepening of the LC and regional susceptibility to glaucoma.


Copyright 2024 The Authors. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Publication Title

Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science





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