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Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common non-traumatic cause of disability in young people, and visual symptoms can be the initial manifestation in up to 20% of cases. Retinal examination can be helpful in making the correct diagnosis. The latest iteration of optical coherence tomography (OCT)-based criteria for optic neuritis in multiple sclerosis has been developed in the research realm, but its application to clinical practice, and to the more uncommon demyelinating diseases requires further study. The ability to use OCT data to distinguish between various central nervous system (CNS) demyelinating disorders could provide additional paraclinical tools to accurately diagnose patients. Furthermore, neuro-ophthalmological testing can define the extent of inflammatory damage in the CNS, independent of patient-reported history. For this study, new referrals for OCT at a tertiary multiple sclerosis and neuro-immunology referral centre (n = 167) were analysed retrospectively for the self-reporting of optic neuritis, serological test results, and diagnosis. Only approximately 30% of patients with a clinical history of unilateral optic neuritis solely had a unilateral optic neuropathy, with nearly 40% of those subjects actually having evidence of bilateral optic neuropathies. Roughly 30% of patients reporting a history of bilateral optic neuritis did not have any evidence of structural disease, with 20% of these patients having a separate, intervenable diagnosis noted on macular scans. OCT is a useful adjunct diagnostic tool in the evaluation of demyelinating disease and has the ability to aid in a more accurate diagnosis for patients. Application of the international interocular difference thresholds to a clinical patient population generally reproduces the original results, emphasising their appropriateness. The analysis distinguishing the demyelinating diseases needs to be replicated in a blinded, multi-centre setting.

Application of the international interocular difference thresholds into practice: localising the patient experience.
Sguigna PV, Tardo LM, Blackburn KM, et al.
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Claire Howard

Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, Salford, UK.

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