Document Type

Theses, Masters

Master Thesis

Master thesis


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

Submitted for the award of Master of Philosophy, School of Physics, Clinical and Optometric Sciences, Technological University Dublin, June 2022.


Introduction/Aims Inflammatory diseases such as diabetes, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) can alter the size and shape of the foveal avascular zone (FAZ). Macular pigment (MP), a powerful antioxidant, located at the macula can protect the eye from oxidative stress damage. This study aims to investigate possible factors affecting the FAZ, such as vessel perfusion and overweight/obesity, in association with MP status in a young, healthy population. Normative values for FAZ size/shape and vascularity will also be proposed.

Methods One hundred and fifty-four subjects aged 18-35 years old were recruited. Superficial FAZ area, diameter, ganglion cell layer, central macular thickness (CMT), vascular perfusion and density were measured by Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography (OCTA). FAZ area/vascularity were assessed in relation to body mass index (BMI), trunk fat % and macular pigment optical density (MPOD).

Results Mean FAZ area was 0.22±0.07millimetres squared (mm2). Reduced vessel perfusion central (≤ 24%), low MPOD (≤ 0.4optical density units (OD)) and high BMI (> 25kilograms (kg)/metre (m2)) were associated with a larger FAZ area on multivariate analysis. Age, vessel perfusion and CMT were all negative predictors of FAZ area. Trunk fat % was a positive predictor of FAZ area (p = 0.03) while BMI was positively correlated with FAZ area, (Pearson’s r = 0.18, p = 0.03).

Conclusions Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography has potential as a screening tool aiding in the earlier detection and monitoring of eye diseases associated with oxidative stress i.e., hypertensive and diabetic retinopathy (DR), glaucoma and AMD. FAZ size in association with MPOD assessment, may be useful in detecting and advising patients at risk of retinal oxidative stress damage.




Document Type

Master thesis