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M. C. Mehta, J. J. Hopkins, M. S. Humayun; The Imaging and Assessment of Retinal Structure and Function in Patients With Advanced Retinal Blindness. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2008;49(13):3205.
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To determine if the structural integrity of the ganglion cell layer of the retina in patients is maintained in advanced retinal blindness.
This pilot study was designed to assess the structural integrity of the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) using Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) measurement of RNFL thickness in eyes with advanced retinal blindness secondary to photoreceptor loss. For the purposes of this study we equated visual acuity with the severity of retinal disease. Using age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa as models for retinal blindness the OCT data were correlated with visual acuity in patients of varying stages of retinal disease.
Of the 25 eyes measured in this study there is no significant correlation between retinal nerve fiber layer thickness as measured by OCT and visual acuity [p = 0.2555, r = -0.23630], or age [p = 0.1252, r = -0.31496].
We conclude that the nerve fiber layer thickness remains fairly well preserved even at advanced levels of vision loss. This fact is of particular importance in that it suggests that a retinal prosthesis implanted on the nerve fiber layer may be effective in providing vision to patients with advanced retinal blindness.
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