Distribution of Axial Length and Ocular Biometry Measured Using Partial Coherence Laser Interferometry (IOL Master) in an Older White Population

Published:December 24, 2009DOI:


      We aimed to describe norms for the distribution of axial length (AL) and other ocular biometric parameters in an older Caucasian population, measured using partial coherence laser interferometry (Zeiss IOL Master; Carl Zeiss AG, Oberkochen, Germany), a technique now routinely used in measuring AL before cataract surgery. We also aimed to assess age and gender relationships with these parameters and their correlations with spherical equivalent refraction (SER).


      Cross-sectional analysis of the Blue Mountains Eye Study (BMES) cohort at the examinations (10-year follow-up examination).


      From 2002 to 2004, 1952 persons (76% of surviving baseline BMES participants) aged 59 years or older had ocular biometry measured at the 10-year examinations.


      Spherical equivalent refraction was calculated as the sum of sphere +0.5 cylinder power, after protocol refraction. Measurements of AL, corneal curvature (K1), anterior chamber depth (ACD), and corneal diameter (WTW) were performed using the IOL Master. Only right phakic eyes (n = 1335) with biometry data were included.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Axial length distribution.


      Mean AL was 23.44 mm (95% confidence interval [CI], 23.38–23.50) and was greater in men, 23.76 mm (CI, 23.68–23.84), than in women, 23.19 mm (CI, 23.11–23.27). The mean K1, ACD, and WTW were 43.42 diopters (D), 3.10 mm, and 12.06 mm, respectively. The AL and ACD distributions were both positively skewed and peaked, whereas the WTW and K1 distributions were near normal. From age 59 years or older, a mean reduction in AL with age was observed (P for trend = 0.005), 0.12 mm per decade (P = 0.0176) in women but only 0.02 mm per decade (P = 0.6319) in men. Mean SER was 0.58 D, and the distribution was peaked with a negative skew. The SER was negatively correlated with both AL (beta coefficient –0.688) and ACD (beta coefficient −0.222), but not with K1 or WTW.


      These data provide normative values in the older general population for AL measured using the IOL Master. Axial length distribution was peaked and skewed, suggesting an active modulation process.

      Financial Disclosure(s)

      The authors have no proprietary or commercial interest in any materials discussed in this article.
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