Choroidal structural analysis in ultra-high risk and first-episode psychosis

Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2023 May:70:72-80. doi: 10.1016/j.euroneuro.2023.02.016. Epub 2023 Mar 15.


Both structural and functional alterations in the retina and the choroid of the eye, as parts of the central nervous system, have been shown in psychotic disorders, especially in schizophrenia. In addition, genetic and imaging studies indicate vascular and angiogenesis anomalies in the psychosis spectrum disorders. In this ocular imaging study, choroidal structure and vascularity were investigated using enhanced depth imaging (EDI) optical coherence tomography (OCT) in first-episode psychosis (FEP), ultra-high risk for psychosis (UHR-P), and age- and gender- matched healthy controls (HCs). There were no significant differences between groups in central choroidal thickness, stromal choroidal area (SCA), luminal choroidal area (LCA) and total subfoveal choroidal area. The LCA/SCA ratio (p<0.001) and the choroidal vascularity index (CVI) (p<0.001) were significantly different between FEP, UHR-P and HCs. CVI and LCA/SCA ratio were significantly higher in patients with FEP compared to help-seeking youth at UHR-P. CVI and LCA/SCA ratio were not different between UHR-P and HCs. However, CVI was higher in UHR-P compared to HCs after excluding the outliers for the sensitivity analysis (p = 0.002). Current findings suggest that choroidal thickness is normal, but there are abnormalities in choroidal microvasculature in prodromal and first-episode psychosis. Further longitudinal studies are needed to investigate oculomics, especially CVI, as a promising biomarker for the prediction of conversion to psychosis in individuals at clinical high-risk.

Keywords: At-risk; Choroid; Choroidal vascularity index; Optical coherence tomography; Psychosis; Retina.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Choroid* / blood supply
  • Choroid* / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Psychotic Disorders* / diagnostic imaging
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / methods