Purpose: To compare images of photoreceptor layer disruptions obtained with optical coherence tomography (OCT) and adaptive optics scanning light ophthalmoscopy (AOSLO) in a variety of pathologic states.
Methods: Five subjects with photoreceptor ellipsoid zone disruption as per OCT and clinical diagnoses of closed-globe blunt ocular trauma (n = 2), macular telangiectasia type 2 (n = 1), blue-cone monochromacy (n = 1), or cone-rod dystrophy (n = 1) were included. Images were acquired within and around photoreceptor lesions using spectral domain OCT, confocal AOSLO, and split-detector AOSLO.
Results: There were substantial differences in the extent and appearance of the photoreceptor mosaic as revealed by confocal AOSLO, split-detector AOSLO, and spectral domain OCT en face view of the ellipsoid zone.
Conclusion: Clinically available spectral domain OCT, viewed en face or as B-scan, may lead to misinterpretation of photoreceptor anatomy in a variety of diseases and injuries. This was demonstrated using split-detector AOSLO to reveal substantial populations of photoreceptors in areas of no, low, or ambiguous ellipsoid zone reflectivity with en face OCT and confocal AOSLO. Although it is unclear if these photoreceptors are functional, their presence offers hope for therapeutic strategies aimed at preserving or restoring photoreceptor function.