Purpose: Usher syndrome (USH) is a multisensory deficiency involving vision, hearing and the vestibular system. The purpose of this study is to report on the functional data (i.e. electroretinography, visual fields, visual acuity) of patients with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) due to Usher syndrome that were collected in a multicentre European study (TREATRUSH).
Methods: A total of 268 genetically confirmed USH patients underwent electrophysiological examinations in the context of multimodal ophthalmological examination in the study (75 USH1, 189 USH2 and four USH3). Full-field electroretinography (ERG) was performed according to ISCEV standards, visual field determination was carried out with either the Octopus or Goldmann perimeters and visual acuity was examined with either ETDRS or Snellen charts. The data were compared between USH subtypes (USH1/USH2/USH3) and correlated with age.
Results: Visual acuity decreases significantly with age for both USH1 and USH2 (p < 0.001), without a difference between the two cohorts. When corrected for age, the preserved kinetic visual field was significantly larger in USH2 than in USH1 (p = 0.04). Furthermore, the preserved kinetic visual field area showed a significant decrease with age (based on an exponential fit) in both USH1 and USH2 (p < 0.001). In USH1 patients, however, the visual field was already vastly reduced at an early age. The ERG results were abnormal in all patients. Detectable data for scotopic ERG were obtained from nine patients, and data of photopic ERG were obtained from 24 patients, without a difference between USH1 and USH2 subtypes.
Conclusions: There are differences in the phenotypes of RP in USH subtypes, most visible in the progression of visual fields between USH1 and USH2. The perimetric reduction occurs earlier in USH1 than in USH2. In both subtypes, visual acuity decreases significantly with age and the ERG is not detectable already at early ages.
Keywords: ERG; Functional diagnostics; Usher syndrome; Visual acuity; Visual field.