Background: Retinal nerve fiber and ganglion cell+inner plexiform (GCIP) layer thinning following multiple sclerosis-related acute optic neuritis (AON) is well described. However, whether AON results in changes in the inner nuclear (INL), outer plexiform (OPL), outer nuclear (ONL) and/or photoreceptor segment (PS) layers remains undetermined.
Objectives: The objective of this paper is to determine if INL+OPL and/or ONL+PS changes occur following AON.
Methods: Thirty-three AON patients underwent serial optical coherence tomography (OCT) and visual function testing (mean follow-up: 25 months). Longitudinal changes in retinal layer thickness were analyzed using mixed-effects linear regression.
Results: Four months following AON, the mean decrease in GCIP thickness relative to baseline was 11.4% (p < 0.001). At four months, a concomitant 3.4% increase in average ONL+PS thickness was observed (p < 0.001). The percentage decrease in GCIP thickness and increase in ONL+PS thickness were strongly correlated (r = -0.70; p < 0.001). Between months 4 to 12, ONL+PS thickness declined and, at 12 months, was no longer significantly different from baseline (mean change: 0.5%; p = 0.37). Similar, albeit less robust, changes in the INL+OPL were observed.
Conclusions: Following AON, dynamic changes occur in the deep retinal layers, which are proportional to GCIP thinning. These novel findings help further our understanding of the biological and/or anatomical sequelae resulting from AON.
Keywords: Multiple sclerosis; optic nerve injuries; optic neuritis; optical coherence tomography; retinal ganglion cells; retinal photoreceptors.
© The Author(s), 2015.