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Comparison of macular structural and vascular changes in neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder and primary open angle glaucoma: a cross-sectional study

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Zhang, Xiayin 
Xiao, Hui 
Liu, Chunxin 
Zhao, Lanqin 
Wang, Jinghui 


Aims: To compare macular structure and vasculature between neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) and primary open angle glaucoma (POAG) using optical coherence tomography angiography. Methods: NMOSD patients (n=124) with/without a history of optic neuritis (ON) (NMO+ON: 113 eyes; NMO-ON: 95 eyes), glaucomatous patients (n=102) with early/advanced glaucoma (G-E: 74 eyes; G-A: 50 eyes) and healthy controls (n=62; 90 eyes) were imaged. The main outcome measures were macular ganglion cell-inner plexiform layer (GC-IPL) thickness, vessel density (VD) and perfusion density (PD) in the superficial capillary plexus, and diagnostic capabilities of the parameters as calculated by area under the curve (AUC). Results: Significant losses in GC-IPL, VD and PD were detected in both patients with NMOSD and POAG. With matched losses in the peripapillary retinal nerve fibre layer, NMOSD group showed significant thinning of GC-IPL in the nasal-superior quadrant, whereas in POAG group, significant thinning was observed in the inferior and temporal-inferior quadrants. GC-IPL thinning was more prominent in the superior, nasal-superior and nasal-inferior quadrants in NMO+ON eyes. In G-A eyes, significant GC-IPL thinning was seen in the temporal-inferior quadrant. The specific structural parameters combining VD and foveal avascular zone (FAZ) indices showed the best diagnostic accuracies. The FAZ area in eyes with NMOSD was significantly smaller than the eyes of healthy controls and POAG. Conclusion: NMOSD and POAG have specific patterns of macular structural and vascular changes associated with pathophysiology. Our results indicate that FAZ could be a sensitive biomarker of macular changes in NMOSD.


Funder: National Eye Research Centre (UK)

Funder: NIHR Biomedical Research Centre

Funder: UK National Institute of Health Research (NIHR)

Funder: Fight for Sight (UK)

Funder: Isaac Newton Trust (UK)


Clinical science, 1506, glaucoma, diagnostic tests/investigation, imaging, retina, optic nerve

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British Journal of Ophthalmology

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BMJ Publishing Group
Science and Technology Planning Projects of Guangdong Province (2018B010109008)
National Natural Science Foundation of China (81770967, 81822010)
Clinician Scientist Fellowship Award from the Medical Research Council (UK) (G1002570)
National Key R & D Program of China (2018YFC0116500)
Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province (2017A030313649)