Background: To evaluate retinal nerve fibre layer thickness and to compare results with visual evoked potentials and visual field in patients with multiple sclerosis.
Design: A prospective, case-control study, university hospital setting.
Participants: Seventy-three eyes of 37 multiple sclerosis patients and 74 eyes of 37 healthy subjects.
Methods: All patients underwent a complete neurological and ophthalmological examination and peri-papillary retinal nerve fibre layer thickness was evaluated using scanning laser polarimetry (GDx). Furthermore, visual evoked potential and visual field testing were performed.
Main Outcome Measures: The χ2 test, Student's t-test, Mann–Whitney U-test and Pearson's correlation coefficient analysis of the GDx, visual evoked potential and visual field testing parameters.
Results: GDx measurements showed significantly more retinal nerve fibre layer damage in the patients than in the control groups. Comparison of the GDx parameters between patients with optic neuritis and non-optic neuritis demonstrated a statistically significant difference in symmetry (P = 0.046) and superior/nasal parameters (P = 0.009). A correlation was found between the number, superior and inferior ratio parameters, and P100 amplitude obtained with visual evoked potential in patients with non-optic neuritis. Additionally, there was a correlation between the number, inferior ratio and superior/nasal parameters, and the mean deviation of visual field in the non-optic neuritis group.
Conclusions: For retinal nerve fibre layer thickness measurements in multiple sclerosis patients, the GDx, along with other techniques, such as visual evoked potential, can be used as a diagnostic and follow-up criterion, particularly in patients without optic neuritis.