Risk factors for progressive axonal degeneration of the retinal nerve fibre layer in multiple sclerosis patients.
ABSTRACT To quantify structural and functional degeneration in the retinal nerve fibre layer (RNFL) of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) over a 2-year time period, and to analyse the effect of prior optic neuritis (ON) as well as the duration and incidence of MS relapses.
166 MS patients and 120 healthy controls underwent assessment of visual acuity and colour vision, visual field examination, optical coherence tomography, scanning laser polarimetry and visual evoked potentials (VEPs). All subjects were re-evaluated after a period of 12 and 24 months.
Changes in the optic nerve were detected by structural measurements but not by functional assessments. Changes registered in MS patients were greater than changes in healthy controls (p<0.05). Eyes with previous ON showed a greater reduction of parameters in the baseline evaluation, but RNFL atrophy was not significantly greater in the longitudinal study. Patients with MS relapses showed a greater reduction of RNFL thickness and VEP amplitude compared with non-relapsing cases. Patients with and without treatment showed similar measurement reduction, but the non-treated group had a significantly higher increase in Expanded Disability Status Scale (p=0.029).
MS causes progressive axonal loss in the optic nerve, regardless of a history of ON. This ganglion cell atrophy occurs in all eyes but is more marked in MS eyes than in healthy eyes.
- SourceAvailable from: Serkan Ozben[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Optical coherence tomography is supported and used as a technique for visualisation of neuro-axonal loss in multiple sclerosis, but there are also a few studies expressing the opposite view. The aim of our study was to investigate retinal nerve fibre layer and optic nerve head parameters in patients with multiple sclerosis without a history of prior optic neuritis and symptoms of a new clinical attack during the follow-up for a total of 20-month period. Full ophthalmic evaluation was performed for all of the participants. The baseline retinal nerve fibre layer and macular thicknesses and focal and global loss of macular volume values were significantly lower in the eyes of the patients with multiple sclerosis compared with the healthy controls. No significant change between baseline and follow-up scans were found in all optical coherence tomography parameters in the multiple sclerosis group. Statistical analyses revealed significant retinal nerve fibre layer and macular thickness differences between baseline and second measurements in the controls. No significant difference in percent change between baseline and second measurements was observed between the patient and control groups. We conclude that whereas healthy subjects have an age-related tendency toward a decrease in retinal nerve fibre layer thickness, patients with multiple sclerosis patients are likely to pass through different stages of retinal thinning and thickening due to subclinical optic neuritis and, as a result, we could not detect any statistically significant change between baseline and second measurements in our multiple sclerosis patients.Neuro-Ophthalmology 01/2013; 37(3):104-10. · 0.18 Impact Factor