Peripapillary hyperreflective ovoid mass-like structures (PHOMS) in patients with acute Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy

Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2023 Aug 16. doi: 10.1007/s00417-023-06205-y. Online ahead of print.


PURPOSE: Peripapillary hyperreflective ovoid mass-like structures (PHOMS) represent an optical coherence tomography (OCT) finding that has been characterized in different forms of pseudopapilledema. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of PHOMS in patients affected by acute LHON using structural OCT, and to provide a detailed description of these findings.

METHODS: Patients with a clinical and molecularly confirmed diagnosis of acute LHON (visual loss having occurred less than 6 months) were enrolled from the neuro-ophthalmology clinic at San Raffaele Scientific Institute. Patients had a complete ophthalmologic evaluation, including imaging with structural OCT.

RESULTS: Our analysis included 16 patients (21 eyes-8 males and 8 females) with acute LHON. Structural OCT exhibited PHOMS in 12 eyes from 9 patients with a prevalence rate of 57.1%. In a subsequent topographical assessment in the peripapillary area, the most common location of PHOMS was the temporal region (12 out of 12 eyes), while the nasal region was affected in 2 eyes (16.7%). Considering the 12 eyes with PHOMS, mean ± SD temporal peripapillary RNFL thickness was 87.5 ± 28.4 microns. The temporal peripapillary RNFL thickness was significantly lower in eyes without PHOMS (63.7 ± 32.2 microns; P = 0.40). At the 12-month follow-up visit, PHOMS disappeared in 10 out of 12 eyes.

CONCLUSIONS: Acute LHON eyes have PHOMS which are mainly confined to the temporal peripapillary sector. PHOMS may represent swelled retinal fibers that have herniated or are in stasis.

PMID:37584789 | DOI:10.1007/s00417-023-06205-y