Variability of relationship between inner-retinal structural changes and visual dysfunction in optic neuropathy

Sci Rep. 2024 May 27;14(1):12069. doi: 10.1038/s41598-024-62704-w.


Optical coherence tomography (OCT) displays the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) or macular ganglion cell and inner plexiform layer (GCIPL) thickness below 1st percentile in red color. This finding generally indicates severe inner-retinal structural changes and suggests poor visual function. Nevertheless, some individuals show preserved visual function despite these circumstances. This study aimed to identify the correlation between best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) and inner-retinal thickness based on OCT parameters in various optic neuropathy patients with extremely low RNFL/GCIPL thickness, and determine the limitation of OCT for predicting visual function in these patients. 131 patients were included in the study. The mean BCVA in logMAR was 0.55 ± 0.70 with a broad range from – 0.18 to 3.00. Among the OCT parameters, temporal GCIPL (r = – 0.412) and average GCIPL (r = – 0.366) exhibited the higher correlations with BCVA. Etiological comparisons of optic neuropathies revealed significantly lower BCVA in LHON (all p < 0.05). Idiopathic optic neuritis (ON) and MOGAD exhibited better and narrower BCVA distributions compared to the other optic neuropathies. OCT had limited utility in reflecting BCVA, notwithstanding significant inner-retinal thinning after optic nerve injuries. Caution is needed in interpreting OCT findings, especially as they relate to the etiology of optic neuropathy.

PMID:38802443 | DOI:10.1038/s41598-024-62704-w