Macula and retinal nerve fiber layer in migraine patients: analysis by spectral domain optic coherence tomography

Semin Ophthalmol. 2015 Mar;30(2):124-8. doi: 10.3109/08820538.2013.833270. Epub 2013 Oct 30.


Aim: Investigating the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL), macular and ganglion cell complex thickness in eyes of migraine patients using optical coherence tomography.

Methods: The study was designed as an observational cross-sectional study. 50 patients with migraine (30 patients with aura and 20 patients without aura) and 50 healthy volunteers were included. Optical coherence tomography was performed with Optovue technology. The fast RNFL thickness (3.4) scan, MM5, and GCC acquisition protocols were used.

Results: There was no statistically significant difference in retinal thickness in any of the quadrants between the control group and the migraine patients (p > 0.05). The average RNFL thickness (110.50 vs 102.84 microns, p = 0.03) was significantly thinner in migrainers as compared to the control. The ANOVA did not reveal any significant difference between migrainers with aura, migrainers without aura, and the control group. The VAS (visual analogue scale) score of migraine patients was not statistically significantly correlated with any of the parameters, while the length of migraine history was negatively correlated with the average RNFL thickness (r = -0.32, p = 0.03).

Conclusion: The average RNFL thickness in the migraine patients was found to be thinner than that in the control group. In addition, we found a negative weak correlation between length of migraine history and the average RNFL thickness, supporting the possible association between these pathologies.

Keywords: Ganglion cell complex thickness; macular thickness; migraine; nerve fiber layer thickness; spectral domain optical coherence tomography.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Macula Lutea / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Migraine with Aura / complications*
  • Migraine with Aura / diagnosis
  • Migraine without Aura / complications*
  • Migraine without Aura / diagnosis
  • Nerve Fibers / pathology*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / pathology*
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence
  • Young Adult