Progressive Loss of Retinal Ganglion Cells and Axons in Nonoptic Neuritis Eyes in Multiple Sclerosis: A Longitudinal Optical Coherence Tomography Study

Elizabeth C. Graham, Yuyi You, Con Yiannikas, Raymond Garrick, John Parratt, Michael H. Barnett, Alexander Klistorner

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44 Citations (Scopus)
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CONCLUSIONS: This study confirmed significant thinning of RGC/IPL and tRNFL in NON eyes of RRMS patients. Progressive losses were more apparent on tRNFL, while RGC/IPL showed less change over the follow-up period.

RESULTS: Retinal ganglion cell/inner plexiform layer and temporal RNFL (tRNFL) demonstrated highly significant thinning (P < 0.01), but all nasal segments and global RNFL (gRNFL) were not significantly different from normal controls. While receiver operating characteristics (ROC) analysis showed no advantage of RGC/IPL over tRNFL in cross-sectional detection of thinning, cut-off point based of fifth percentile in healthy controls demonstrated higher rate of abnormality for RGC/IPL. There was a significant progressive loss of RGC/IPL and tRNFL during the follow-up period. The largest thickness reduction was observed in tRNFL. ROC analysis demonstrated that tRNFL provided better sensitivity/specificity for detecting change over time than RGC/IPL (area under the curve [AUC] 0.78 vs. 0.52), which was confirmed by higher detection rate when 95th percentile of progression in healthy controls was used as a cut-off.

PURPOSE: To examine the rate of retinal ganglion cell (RGC) layer and retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) changes in nonoptic neuritis (NON) eyes of relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) patients, and to find a specific imaging parameter useful for identifying disease progression.

METHODS: Forty-five consecutive RRMS patients and 20 age- and sex-matched healthy subjects were enrolled. All patients were followed up for 3 years with annual optical coherence tomography (OCT) scans, which included a peripapillary ring scan protocol for RNFL analysis and a macular radial star-like scan to obtain RGC/inner plexiform layer (IPL) thickness measures. Healthy controls were scanned twice, 3 years apart.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2311-2317
Number of pages7
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2016. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • retinal ganglion cell
  • optic neuritis
  • multiple sclerosis
  • optical coherence tomography

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