by Oertel FC & Zimmermann H, Mikolajczak J, Weinhold M, Kadas EM, Oberwahrenbrock T, Pache F, Bellmann-Strobl J, Ruprecht K, Paul F, Brandt AU.
Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders (NMOSDs) are relapsing inflammatory demyelinating disorders with optic neuritis (ON) as the hallmark. ON causes neuroaxonal damage to the optic nerve and retina, regularly leading to severely impaired visual acuity (VA).
Peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer (pRNFL) thickness measured by optical coherence tomography (OCT) has been increasingly recognized as a marker for neuroaxonal damage and correlate of visual dysfunction. As such, pRNFL is implemented as an outcome in clinical trials of ON-associated disorders. Blood vessels (BVs) running within the pRNFL contribute approximately 13% to an average RNFL thickness2 and could present an important confounder when tracking small pRNFL changes or in diseases with severe thinning such as NMOSD. Against this background, the objective of this study was to investigate the influence of retinal BVs on pRNFL measurements in an NMOSD cohort.