Changes in oxygen saturation and the retinal nerve fibre layer in patients with optic neuritis - a pilot study

Acta Ophthalmol. 2018 May;96(3):e309-e314. doi: 10.1111/aos.13571. Epub 2017 Nov 1.


Purpose: Assessment of retinal oxygen saturation, thickness of a retinal nerve fibre layer (RNFL) and functional changes in the optic nerve during optic neuritis (ON) in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Methods: Thirty-two patients with ON due to MS within 3 months of onset of symptoms were enrolled [22 females, 10 males, age 34 ± 9 years, median 32.5 years, 22 patients with the clinically isolated syndrome (CIS), 10 patients with relapsing-remitting from of MS (RRMS)]. All patients were examined using optical coherence tomography (OCT model 4000, Carl Zeiss Meditec, Dublin, CA, USA), automatic optical oximetry (Oxymap ehf, Reykjavik, Iceland) and using visual evoked potentials (VEP) (Metronic Keypoint® , Minneapolis, MN, USA).

Results: Arterio-venous difference (AVD) was increased in patients ON affected eye compared to patients' unaffected eye (PUE) [34.2 ± 4.7 versus 31.3 ± 4.6, p = 0.044 (mean ± standard deviation)]. No statistically significant difference was found in vessel oxygen saturation as well as in RNFL thickness in ON affected eyes when compared to unaffected MS eyes and healthy individuals. Significantly lower optic nerve conduction velocity was found in the affected eye when compared to unaffected MS eye and healthy (p < 0.0001 for both comparisons). No correlation between oxygen saturation values and VEP was observed in patients with MS.

Conclusion: The AVD in oxygen saturation is altered in patients with acute ON. In the early stage of ON, AVD could reflect inflammatory and metabolic changes in the affected eye. Therefore, oximetry could be used as another diagnostic method in MS patients in suspicion of ON. This result would be promising for future investigation in this field.

Keywords: multiple sclerosis; optic neuritis; optical coherence tomography; oximetry.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Fibers / pathology*
  • Optic Disk / pathology*
  • Optic Neuritis / metabolism*
  • Optic Neuritis / pathology
  • Oximetry
  • Oxygen / metabolism*
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / pathology*
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence
  • Young Adult


  • Oxygen