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Outer retinal abnormalities associated with inner retinal pathology in nonglaucomatous and glaucomatous optic neuropathies


Inner and outer retinal morphology were quantified in vivo for 6 nonglaucomatous and 10 glaucomatous optic neuropathy patients. Custom, ultrahigh-resolution imaging modalities were used to evaluate segmented retinal layer thickness in 3D volumes (Fourier-domain optical coherence tomography), cone photoreceptor density (adaptive optics fundus camera), and the length of inner and outer segments of cone photoreceptors (adaptive optics-optical coherence tomography). Quantitative comparisons were made with age-matched controls, or by comparing affected and nonaffected retinal areas defined by changes in visual fields. The integrity of outer retinal layers on optical coherence tomography B-scans and density of cone photoreceptors were correlated with visual field sensitivity at corresponding retinal locations following reductions in inner retinal thickness. The photoreceptor outer segments were shorter and exhibited greater variability in retinal areas associated with visual field losses compared with normal or less affected areas of the same patient's visual field. These results demonstrate that nonglaucomatous and glaucomatous optic neuropathies are associated with outer retinal changes following long-term inner retinal pathology.

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