Purpose: Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) is the most common mtDNA optic neuropathy. It most frequently causes dense bilateral central scotomas that are often characterized in clinical studies by Humphrey visual field testing (HVF) using a stimulus size III. This provides numerical quantification of the visual field defect using the mean deviation. However, this size III testing strategy has limitations. We used stimulus size V to monitor these patients and evaluated intertest variability and dynamic range to determine the testing reliability and reproducibility.
Methods: This was a longitudinal retrospective cohort study comparing Stimulus III and Stimulus V HVF of 62 LHON patients who had reached the plateau stage of the disease. The intertest variability and mean defect were calculated for both stimulus sizes for 38 patients. The mean defect for stimulus size V was calculated using an algorithm developed by the University of Iowa Visual Field Reading Center.
Results: Stimulus size V HVFs had lower inter-test variability as measured by mean defect standard deviation (Z = 169, P < 0.01). The floor effect seen with Stimulus III HVF in LHON, was less pronounced with Stimulus V HVF. The correlation of stimulus size III and V mean defect was strong (r = 0.90, P < 0.01), and a mathematical model was constructed to calculate the Stimulus size V mean defect from the Stimulus size III results (MDstimV = 0.988 x MDStimIII + 1.35, R2 = 0.82 P < 0.01).
Conclusions: Stimulus size V HVF had lower intertest variability and a better dynamic range than Stimulus size III HVF in LHON patients. This makes the stimulus V HVF a more reliable metric to follow LHON patients especially in clinical trials. The mathematical model presented can be used to generate a Stimulus V equivalent mean defect from Stimulus III HVFs.
Translational relevance: Using Stimulus V HVF in LHON patients increases its ability to detect and quantify a response to treatment, making it a useful metric for future LHON clinical trials and the clinical setting.