JAN 24, 2014
This prospective study found that neurodegeneration caused by Parkinson’s disease can be detected using Fourier domain optical coherence tomography (OCT), and that retinal nerve fiber layter (RNFL) and macular thicknesses correlate with disease severity.
The authors used Cirrus OCT (Carl Zeiss Meditec, Inc.) and Spectralis OCT (Heidelberg Engineering, Inc.) devices to evaluate 153 patients with Parkinson disease and 242 healthy controls.
They found that both RNFL and macular parameters were significantly reduced in patients with Parkinson’s disease compared to matched controls. Furthermore, disease severity—as assessed using the Schwab-England Activities of Daily Living scale, the Unified Parkinson Disease Rating Scale, and the Hoehn and Yahr scale—was significantly correlated with RNFL and macular thickness parameters.
Based on these results, it appears that OCT can be used to monitor Parkinson’s disease in the same way that it’s currently used to monitor multiple sclerosis. However, longitudinal studies with a larger sample size are needed to corroborate these results and to evaluate the usefulness of macular and RNFL measurements as biomarkers of disease progression and treatment effectiveness in Parkinson’s.