Spectral domain optical coherence tomography findings in patients with retinitis pigmentosa

Ophthalmic Res. 2013;50(3):160-4. doi: 10.1159/000351681. Epub 2013 Aug 28.


Background: To report the morphological macular findings detected by spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) and to determine their prevalence in patients with retinitis pigmentosa (RP).

Methods: SD-OCT scans of 176 eyes from 90 patients affected by RP were reviewed. A careful evaluation was carried out on photoreceptor inner/outer segment (IS/OS) junction, external limiting membrane (ELM), inner limiting membrane thickening (ILMT), epiretinal membranes (ERMs), retinal micropseudocysts (MPCs), cystoid macular edema (CME), macular holes (MHs) and choroidal neovascularization (CNV).

Results: The photoreceptor IS/OS junction was absent in the foveal region of 24 eyes (13.6%) and disrupted in 84 eyes (47.7%). The ELM was absent in 24 eyes (13.6%), whereas the ILMT was found in 118 eyes (67%). The presence of an ERM was detected in 48 eyes (27.3%). Some sort of vitreomacular alteration (ILMT and/or ERM) was identifiable in a total of 94.3% of eyes with RP. The presence of MPCs was detected in 32 eyes (18.2%). An evident CME was found in 22 eyes (12.5%). We also found MHs in 8 eyes (4.5%) and CNV in 3 eyes (1.7%).

Conclusions: Our data indicate that RP is associated with alterations of many retinal layers. In particular, the vitreoretinal interface is affected in 94% of patients, and MPC can be identified in 18% of eyes. SD-OCT may contribute to the understanding of the pathophysiological mechanism involved in RP.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Epiretinal Membrane / pathology
  • Female
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retinal Photoreceptor Cell Inner Segment / pathology
  • Retinal Photoreceptor Cell Outer Segment / pathology
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa / pathology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / methods*
  • Young Adult