Retinal Thickness Varies in Neuromyelitis Optica and Multiple Sclerosis

The macular inner retinal layer thickness differs between individuals with neuromyelitis optica (NMO) and multiple sclerosis (MS), according to lead author Richard Loeb. The study will be presented in a poster session on Apr. 18 at the American Academy of Neurology meeting in Washington, DC. The finding should help physicians distinguish between the ailments.

The macular inner retinal layer thickness differs between individuals with neuromyelitis optica (NMO) and multiple sclerosis (MS), according to lead author Richard Loeb. The study will be presented in a poster session on Apr. 18 at the American Academy of Neurology meeting in Washington, DC. The finding should help physicians distinguish between the ailments.

Loeb and colleagues examined the thickness differences by using a spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT), technology that only a few other studies have used before.

After the 14 NMO participants underwent the SD-OCT, their retinal layer thickness were compared to the 14 MS participants. An automated segmentation algorithm separated the inner retinal layers. The investigators obtained the volume and mean parafoveal thickness of the macula along with 6 inner retinal layers.

The findings reveal that the NMO group had significant thinning in the total retina, ganglion cell layer (GCL), and inner plexiform layer (IPL) when compared to the MS group. However, there were not any significant differences found in the macular retinal nerve fiber layer or outer retinal layers.

“Using a threshold at the 5th percentile of control eye thickness in macular parafovea, OCT proved 58% sensitive in detecting significant thinning in NMO, and 77% specific for the NMO disease,” the study concluded.