Optical coherence tomography of the retina: applications in neurology

Curr Opin Neurol. 2010 Feb;23(1):16-23. doi: 10.1097/WCO.0b013e328334e99b.


Purpose of review: This review summarizes the mechanisms and recent developments of optical coherence tomography and its practical uses in neurology. The application of optical coherence tomography imaging of the retina in multiple sclerosis, neuromyelitis optica, Alzheimer disease, and Parkinson disease are reviewed.

Recent findings: Thinning of the peripapillary retinal nerve fibre layer has been detected in patients with optic neuritis, multiple sclerosis, neuromyelitis optica, Alzheimer disease, and Parkinson disease. However, the patterns of change differ in some aspects.

Summary: The findings indicate loss of retinal ganglion cells and may reflect degenerative change in the brain in these conditions. The retinal nerve fibre layer thickness may be used as a biological marker and may help to distinguish between optic neuritis associated with multiple sclerosis and optic neuritis in neuromyelitis optica.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Multiple Sclerosis / epidemiology*
  • Neuromyelitis Optica / pathology*
  • Optic Nerve / pathology
  • Optic Neuritis / diagnosis*
  • Optic Neuritis / pathology
  • Parkinson Disease / epidemiology*
  • Photoreceptor Cells, Vertebrate / pathology
  • Radiography
  • Retinal Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Retinal Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Retinal Diseases / pathology
  • Retinal Pigment Epithelium / pathology
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / methods*