Purpose: To investigate longitudinal changes in peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness in patients with retinitis pigmentosa (RP).
Methods: We re-examined 103 RP patients whose RNFL thickness was previously examined and reported. RNFL thickness was measured using Stratus optical coherence tomography and was compared with the previous measurements. The results were also compared with that of previously reported normal subjects. Association between the decrease rate and visual acuity, and visual field was also investigated.
Results: The mean follow-up period was 56.9 months. After excluding the patients in whom RNFL images were of poor quality, 88 patients were eventually analyzed. The average RNFL thickness decreased from 105.8 to 98.2 μm during the period, with the average rate of decrease being 1.6 μm/year. The decrease in RNFL was more evident in superior and inferior sectors. Cross-sectional linear regression analysis also revealed an age-dependent decrease in RNFL, with the slower rate of decrease being 0.94 μm/year. The decrease in RNFL thickness was significantly faster than that reported in normal subjects. The decrease rate was not associated with visual functions.
Conclusion: Age-dependent RNFL thinning occurs at a faster rate in RP patients as compared with that in normal subjects. The result supports the notion that pathologic changes involve inner retina as well as outer retina in eyes with RP. Considering the discrepancy in the rate of RNFL thinning estimated from trend analysis and longitudinal measurement, care should be taken when interpreting the result of cross-sectional analysis.
Oishi A, Ogino K, Nakagawa S, Makiyama Y, Kurimoto M, Otani A, Yoshimura N. Longitudinal analysis of the peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer thinning in patients with retinitis pigmentosa. Eye (Lond). 2013;27(5):597-604.