Study Provides Physical Evidence Confirming Value of OCT Eye Imaging for Tracking Nerve Health in People with MS
September 28, 2016
- Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is an easy-to-use eye scanning method that is increasingly used in research to track nerve damage in the back of the eye in people with multiple sclerosis.
- Evolving research suggests that observations in the eye may echo more global damage in the brain during the course of MS. With funding from the National MS Society, investigators at the University of Wisconsin, Madison successfully uncovered physical evidence that confirms that OCT changes indeed reflect actual damage to the optic nerve.
- This study provides further confirmation of the value of using OCT to track nerve health in research studies, including clinical trials of nerve-protecting strategies in MS and other disorders.
Multiple sclerosis causes diverse damage to tissues in the brain and spinal cord, and finding ways to protect against that damage is a research priority. While this research is advancing, there is a need for ways to quickly detect whether nerve-protecting approaches are working. One technique under study for this purpose in MS is optical coherence tomography (OCT), a non-invasive and easy-to-use method that is increasingly used in research to identify unsuspected damage in nerve fibers at the back of the eye.
Evolving research has suggested that observations in the eye may echo more global damage in the brain during the course of MS, making it a possible window for tracking nerve health.
With funding from the National MS Society, investigators at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, led by Dr. Ian Duncan, set out to find physical evidence in a lab model to link actual damage to the myelin coating on nerve fibers in the optic nerve, and nerve fiber damage, with readings from OCT scans in a lab model. The team reported physical evidence that OCT changes seen at the back of the eye indeed reflect actual damage to the optic nerve.
This study provides independent evidence confirming the value of OCT as an indicator of nerve health and loss, and potentially progression of MS and other disorders.
Leandro B. C. Teixeira; James N. Ver Hoeve; Joshua A. Mayer; Richard R. Dubielzig; Chelsey M. Smith; Abigail B. Radcliff; Ian D. Duncan. Modeling the Chronic Loss of Optic Nerve Axons and the Effects on the Retinal Nerve Fiber Layer Structure in Primary Disorder of Myelin. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science September 2016, Vol.57, 4859-4868. doi:10.1167/iovs.16-19871
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