Purpose: Macular telangiectasia is associated with neurodegenerative changes including focal outer retinal atrophy and a loss of macular pigment (MP). We aimed to investigate whether an association between spectral domain optical coherence tomography neurodegenerative signs and MP abnormalities can be detected.
Methods: Forty-seven eyes of 27 macular telangiectasia Type 2 patients (mean age 66.7 years, range 50-82 years, 12 male) were investigated. An MP pattern was recorded using a dual-wavelength autofluorescence method and classified according to severity (I-III). Outer plexiform, inner nuclear, and photoreceptor layer thickness values were measured in Spectralis spectral domain optical coherence tomography scans. Thickness values were compared with those of a control group of 14 healthy age-matched eyes.
Results: Macular pigment redistribution was found to be Class I in 11 eyes, Class II in 28 eyes, and Class III in 8 eyes. More advanced stages of MP loss were associated with a greater, statistically significant thinning of the outer plexiform and inner nuclear layer complex and photoreceptor layers (P ≤ 0.001). Lower absolute levels of MP were also associated with a thinning of the photoreceptor layer. Thinning was restricted to within the parafovea, more severe at temporal eccentricities.
Conclusion: Our findings support the hypothesis that in macular telangiectasia Type 2 cellular degenerative processes leading to a thinning of these layers also result in reduction and redistribution of MP.