Original Research

Normal measurements of the optic nerve, optic nerve sheath and optic chiasm in the adult population

Sanele S. Mncube, Matthew Goodier
South African Journal of Radiology | Vol 23, No 1 | a1772 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajr.v23i1.1772 | © 2019 Sanele S. Mncube, Matthew D. Goodier | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 July 2019 | Published: 05 November 2019

About the author(s)

Sanele S. Mncube, Greys Hospital, Radiology Department, College of Health Sciences, Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Matthew Goodier, Greys Hospital, Radiology Department, College of Health Sciences, Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Imaging assessment of the anterior visual pathway structures, particularly the optic nerves (ON), requires knowledge of normal dimensions. Several studies suggesting techniques and normal ranges have been performed, but most suffer from various methodological flaws. This study is the first to be performed in a South African population.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to establish normal measurements of the ON, optic nerve sheath (ONS) and optic chiasm (OC) on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Method: Eighty normal adults between ages of 12 and 65 years were included in this prospective, quantitative, observational, descriptive study to establish normal measurement of the ON, ONS and OC using a T2W 3D MRI sequence. Measurements (width and height) were undertaken by two observers independently.

Results: A total of 80 participants with a mean age of 35 years were studied: 49 females (61.25%) and 31 males (38.75%). There were no statistical differences in the measurements between gender and age correlation. Interobserver agreement was best for larger structures, that is, OC width and intracranial ON width, respectively. The overall mean of OC width was 13.63 mm (range: 11.13 mm–16.92 mm, standard deviation [s.d.] 1.21); intraorbital ON height at 5 mm behind the globe 2.29 mm (range: 1.63 mm–3.33 mm, s.d. 0.43), and intracranial ON width 4.27 mm (range: 2.46 mm–5.19 mm, s.d. 0.53).

Conclusion: Normal measurements of the anterior visual pathway structures on MRI are best reflected in the larger structures. Interobserver variability was poor for the orbital ON, ONS, intracranial ON height and OC height. We recommend that measurements be obtained for the OC width and intracranial ON width. The overall mean for the OC width is 13.63 mm and intracranial ON width 4.27 mm.


Keywords

Optic nerve; optic sheath; optic chiasm; magnetic resonance imaging; MRI; anterior visual pathway.

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