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Nazli Demirkaya, Sophie Cohen, Ferdinand W. N. M. Wit, Michael D. Abramoff, Reinier O. Schlingemann, Taco W. Kuijpers, Peter Reiss, Dasja Pajkrt, Frank D. Verbraak; Retinal Structure and Function in Perinatally HIV-Infected and cART-Treated Children: A Matched Case–Control Study. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2015;56(6):3945-3954. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.15-16855.
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Subtle structural and functional neuroretinal changes have been described in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–infected adults without retinitis treated with combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). However, studies on this subject in HIV-infected children are scarce. This study aimed to assess the presence of (neuro)retinal functional and structural differences between a group of perinatally HIV-infected children on cART and age-, sex-, ethnicity-, and socioeconomically matched healthy controls.
All participants underwent an extensive ophthalmological examination, including functional tests as well as optical coherence tomography, to measure individual retinal layer thicknesses. Multivariable mixed linear regression models were used to assess possible associations between HIV status (and other HIV-related parameters) and ocular parameters, while accounting for the inclusion of both eyes and several known confounders.
Thirty-three HIV-infected children (median age 13.7 years [interquartile range (IQR), 12.2–15.8], median CD4+ T-cell count 760 cells/mm3, 82% with an undetectable HIV viral load [VL]), and 36 controls (median age 12.1 years [IQR, 11.5–15.8]) were included. Contrast sensitivity (CS) was significantly lower in the HIV-infected group (1.74 vs. 1.76 logCS; P = 0.006). The patients had a significantly thinner foveal thickness (−11.2 μm, P = 0.012), which was associated with a higher peak HIV VL (−10.3 μm per log copy/mL, P = 0.016).
In this study, we found a decrease in foveal thickness in HIV-infected children, which was associated with a higher peak VL. Longitudinal studies are warranted to confirm our findings and to determine the course and clinical consequences of these foveal changes.
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