Optical coherence tomography in multiple sclerosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Axel Petzold, Johannes F. de Boer, Sven Schippling, Patrik Vermersch, Randy Kardon, Ari Green, Peter A. Calabresi, Chris Polman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

349 Scopus citations


Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a new method that could aid analysis of neurodegeneration in multiple sclerosis (MS) by capturing thinning of the retinal nerve fibre layer (RNFL). Meta-analyses of data for time domain OCT show RNFL thinning of 20·38 μm (95% CI 17·91-22·86, n=2063, p<0·0001) after optic neuritis in MS, and of 7·08 μm (5·52-8·65, n=3154, p<0·0001) in MS without optic neuritis. The estimated RNFL thinning in patients with MS is greater than the extent expected in normal ageing, probably because of retrograde trans-synaptic degeneration and progressive loss of retinal ganglion cells, in addition to the more pronounced thinning caused by optic neuritis if present. RNFL thickness correlates with visual and neurological functioning as well as with paraclinical data. Developments that could improve understanding of the relation between structure and function in MS pathophysiology include spectral or Fourier domain OCT technology, polarisation-sensitive OCT, fluorescence labelling, structural assessment of action-potential propagation, and segmentation algorithms allowing quantitative assessment of retinal layers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)921-932
Number of pages12
JournalThe Lancet Neurology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Optical coherence tomography in multiple sclerosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this