PURPOSE: To investigate subfoveal choroidal thickness and ocular- and systemic-associated factors in a population-based cohort of children. METHODS: Cross-sectional, observational study where 1323 healthy 11- and 12-year-old children were examined with enhanced-depth imaging spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (EDI-SD-OCT), ocular interferometric biometry, blood pressure manometry, and measurement of height, weight, nonmydriatic refraction, and best-corrected visual acuity. Self-reported stage of pubertal development was classified as Tanner stages 1 through 4. RESULTS: Mean subfoveal choroidal thickness was 369 ± 81 μm in girls and 348 ± 72 μm in boys. Longer axial length was associated with a thinner subfoveal choroid (-27.2 [95% confidence interval (CI) -32.7 to -21.7] μm/mm; P < 0.0001), adjusting for age and sex. There was no difference in choroidal thickness between sexes (P = 0.14) after adjusting for age and axial length. In girls, the choroid was thickest in participants in the more advanced stage of pubertal development (54.2 [95% CI 20.7-87.7] μm for Tanner 4 versus Tanner 1, P = 0.0015) and increased with body height (19.2 [95% CI 10.8-27.5] μm/10 cm, P < 0.0001). There was no effect of height or puberty in boys, who were less sexually mature than girls. CONCLUSIONS: Choroidal thickness in girls increased with body height and sexual maturation. The results suggest that puberty promotes choroidal thickening in girls, an effect that may be mediated by the pubertal growth spurt. The lack of pubertal effect in boys may be related to a smaller proportion of boys in this study having entered puberty.
Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, 2014, Vol 55, Issue 1, p. 550-555