Purpose: The goal of this study was to determine the volumetric vessel density (VVD) in the intraretinal layers and its relationship with visual function and disability in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Design: Cross-sectional study. Methods: A total of 80 patients with relapsing-remitting MS and 99 age- and sex-matched healthy controls (HC) were recruited. The retinal microvascular network in the macular area was imaged using optical coherence tomography angiography in 123 eyes without a history of optic neuritis (ON) (MSNON) and 36 eyes with a history of ON (MSON). The VVD was calculated as the vessel densities in the retinal vascular network (RVN), superficial vascular plexus (SVP), or deep vascular plexus (DVP) of an annulus (0.6-2.5 mm in diameter), divided by the corresponding tissue volume of the intraretinal layers respectively. Results: The VVD of RVN and DVP in MSNON were significantly higher than in HC (P < .05). The VVD of RVN, SVP, and DVP in MSON were significantly higher than in MSNON and HC (P < .05). The VVD in both RVN and SVP were positively related to EDSS and disease duration, but negatively related to low-contrast letter acuity (P < .05). The VVD measurements were also negatively and strongly related to the corresponding tissue volumes (P < .05). Conclusions: This is the first study to reveal increased retinal VVD in patients with relapsing-remitting MS. The measurements of VVD in the RVN and SVP were related to disability and visual function, which may be developed as image markers for tracking disease progression.
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