The lamina cribrosa (LC) is the presumed site of axonal injury in glaucoma. Its deformation has been suggested to contribute to optic neuropathy by impeding axoplasmic flow within the optic nerve fibers, leading to apoptosis of retinal ganglion cells. To visualize the LC in vivo, optical coherence tomography (OCT) has been applied. Spectral domain (SD)-OCT, used in conjunction with recently introduced enhanced depth imaging (EDI)-OCT, has improved visualization of deeper ocular layers, but in many individuals it is still limited by inadequate resolution, poor image contrast and insufficient depth penetrance. The posterior laminar surface especially is not viewed clearly using these methods. New generation high-penetration (HP)-OCTs, also known as swept-source (SS)-OCT, are capable to evaluate the choroid in vivo to a remarkable level of detail. SS-OCTs use a longer wavelength (1,050 nm instead of 840 nm) compared to the conventional techniques. We review current knowledge of the LC, findings from trials that use SD-OCT and EDI-OCT, and our experience with a prototype SS-OCT to visualize the LC in its entirety.
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