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Raquel Herrero, Elena Garcia-Martin, Carmen Almarcegui, Jose R. Ara, Diego Rodriguez-Mena, Jesus Martin, Sofia Otin, Maria Satue, Luis E. Pablo, Francisco J. Fernandez; Progressive Degeneration of the Retinal Nerve Fiber Layer in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012;53(13):8344-8349. doi: 10.1167/iovs.12-10362.
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To quantify changes in the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) over 3 years and to evaluate whether treatment protects against RNFL degeneration.
Ninety-four MS patients and 50 healthy subjects were followed-up over 3 years. All subjects underwent a complete ophthalmic examination, which included assessment of visual acuity (Snellen chart), color vision (Ishihara pseudoisochromatic plates), visual field examination, optical coherence tomography (OCT), and visual evoked potentials (VEPs). All patients were reevaluated at 12, 24, and 36 months to quantify changes in the RNFL.
Changes were detected in RNFL thickness at the 36-month follow-up. Significant decreases (P < 0.05, t-test) were observed in the mean, superior, inferior, and temporal RNFL thicknesses, and macular volume provided by OCT, and in the P100 latency of VEP of the MS group, but only in the mean and inferior RNFL thicknesses of the healthy control group. Greater changes in the superior and inferior RNFL thicknesses during follow-up were detected in the MS group. Differences between treatments were not detected, but untreated patients had higher degeneration in the mean and superior RNFL thicknesses during the follow-up (P = 0.040 and P = 0.19, respectively).
Progressive axonal loss can be detected in the optic nerve fiber layer of MS patients. Analysis of the RNFL by OCT can be useful for evaluating MS progression and efficacy of treatment as a neuroprotective factor against axonal degeneration.
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