Macular reflexes in optic atrophy

Am J Ophthalmol. 1984 Oct 15;98(4):494-8. doi: 10.1016/0002-9394(84)90138-7.


We investigated the annular reflex of the macula and the foveal reflex in 14 eyes with various degrees of optic atrophy by means of red-free fundus photographs. The patients ranged in age from 13 to 34 years (mean age, 25.9 years). We compared our observations with data obtained from 51 age-matched normal eyes. Optic atrophy was found to be associated with changes in the reflexes of the macular area. Alterations occurred in all eight eyes that had visual acuities of 20/50 or worse. Changes in the annular reflex of the macula were more significant in younger patients (less than or equal to 25 years of age) than in older patients. In the younger group, the annular reflex was blunt, distorted, and fragmented, and showed an irregular extension toward the foveal area, whereas in the old group it showed less specific attenuation. Fading of the foveal reflex was observed in both groups. Changes in the retinal reflexes of these patients result from alterations in the ganglion cell and nerve fiber layer and should be included among the signs of optic atrophy. They can help determine the extent of optic atrophy and can be useful clinical clues in children whose optic disks are difficult to examine. They should not be mistaken for signs of associated primary retinal disorders.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Fovea Centralis / physiopathology
  • Fundus Oculi
  • Humans
  • Light
  • Macula Lutea / physiopathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Optic Atrophy / pathology
  • Optic Atrophy / physiopathology*
  • Reflex / physiology*
  • Visual Acuity