Longitudinal study of retinal structure, vascular, and neuronal function in patientswith relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis: 1-year follow-up

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2 Scopus citations


Objective: The purpose of this study was to quantify retinal structural, vascular, and functional changes in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) over 1 year. Methods: Eighty-eight eyes of 44 patients with RRMS underwent assessments of low contrast letter acuity (LCLA), retinal ganglion cell function detected by the steady-state pattern electroretinogram (PERG), axonal micro structural integrity measured as birefringence, intraretinal layer thicknesses by ultra-high-resolution optical coherence tomography (OCT), volumetric vessel density (VVD) by OCT angiography, and retinal tissue perfusion (RTP) by the Retinal Function Imager (RFI). All measurements were performed at baseline and 1-year follow-up. The impacts of disease activities and a history of optic neuritis (ON) were analyzed. Results: Compared to baseline, there were no significant differences in all variables (P > 0.05), except for the axonal birefringence and RTP. The birefringence’s of the retinal fiber layer at the temporal and superior quadrants was significantly decreased (P < 0.05), whereas RTP was significantly increased (P < 0.05). In the subgroup with ON, significantly longer PERG latency and decreased VVD were observed at follow-up (P < 0.05). In patients with improved LCLA, significantly increased RTP and decreased VVD (P < 0.05) were also observed. Conclusions: This is the first longitudinal study that assessed the RTP and VVD, along with other retinal structural and functional parameters in MS. The recovery of retinal vascular function occurred with the improved LCLA, suggesting that these measurements may be associated with disease progression. Translational Relevance: The retinal micro vascular changes could be potential biomarkers for monitoring therapeutic efficacy in MS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6
JournalTranslational Vision Science and Technology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2021


  • Low contrast letter acuity
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Retinal ganglion cell
  • Retinal nerve fiber layer
  • Retinal tissue perfusion
  • Volumetric vessel density

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Ophthalmology


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