Retinal damage in multiple sclerosis disease subtypes measured by high-resolution optical coherence tomography

Mult Scler Int. 2012;2012:530305. doi: 10.1155/2012/530305. Epub 2012 Jul 25.


Background. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) has facilitated characterisation of retinal alterations in MS patients. Only scarce and in part conflicting data exists on different MS subtypes. Objective. To analyse patterns of retinal changes in different subtypes of MS with latest spectral-domain technology. Methods. In a three-centre cross-sectional study 414 MS patients and 94 healthy controls underwent spectral-domain OCT examination. Results. Eyes of MS patients without a previous optic neuritis showed a significant reduction of both retinal nerve fibre layer (RNFL) thickness and total macular volume (TMV) compared to healthy controls independent of the MS subtype (P < 0.001 for all subtypes). RNFL thickness was lower in secondary progressive MS (SPMS) eyes compared to relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) eyes (P = 0.007), and TMV was reduced in SPMS and primary progressive MS (PPMS) eyes compared to RRMS eyes (SPMS: P = 0.039, PPMS: P = 0.005). Independent of the subtype a more pronounced RNFL thinning and TMV reduction were found in eyes with a previous optic neuritis compared to unaffected eyes. Conclusion. Analysis of this large-scale cross-sectional dataset of MS patients studied with spectral-domain OCT confirmed and allows to generalize previous findings. Furthermore it carves out distinct patterns in different MS subtypes.