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Structural Integrity of Eyes Diagnosed with Amblyopia. The measurement of retinal structure in amblyopia using Optical Coherence Tomography.

By Alison Bruce


Amblyopia is the leading cause of monocular visual impairment in children. Therapy for amblyopia is extremely beneficial in some children but ineffective in others. It is critical that the reasons for this discrepancy are understood. Emerging evidence indicates that current clinical protocols for the diagnosis of amblyopia may not be sufficiently sensitive in identifying individuals who, on more detailed examination, exhibit subtle structural defects of the eye. Presently, the magnitude of this problem is unknown. \ud The aim of this study was to establish the prevalence of subtle retinal/optic nerve head defects in eyes diagnosed with amblyopia, to distinguish between possible explanations for the origin of such defects and to investigate the relationship between quantitative measures of retinal structure, retinal nerve fibre layer thickness and optic nerve head dimensions. Using the imaging technique of Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) retinal structure has been investigated in detail, following the visual pathway across the retina from the fovea, via the paramacular bundle to the optic disc, where peripapillary retinal nerve fibre thickness has been imaged and subjected to detailed measures along with optic disc size and shape. \ud The study formed two phases, the first imaging the eyes of visually normal adults and children, comparing them to amblyopes, both adults and children who had completed their treatment. The second phase, a longitudinal study, investigated retinal structure of amblyopic children undertaking occlusion therapy for the first time. By relating pre-therapy quantitative measures to the visual outcome the second phase of the study aimed to examine whether OCT imaging could identify children achieving a poor final outcome. \ud \ud The results show a clear picture of inter-ocular symmetry structure in all individuals, visually normal and amblyopic. Optic disc characteristics revealed no structural abnormalities in amblyopes, in any of the measured parameters, nor was there any association between the level of visual acuity and the measured structure. \ud \ud At the fovea differences were shown to occur in the presence of amblyopia, with thickening of the fovea and reduction of the foveal pit depth. The structural changes were found to be both bilateral and symmetrical with the fellow eye also affected. In the longitudinal phase of the study these changes were demonstrated to a greater extent in children who ¿failed¿ to respond to treatment. This bilateral, symmetrical structural change found at the fovea, which has not been previously reported, cannot therefore be the primary cause of the visual loss which has been diagnosed as amblyopia

Topics: Amblyopia, Retina, Optical Coherence Tomography, Fovea, Optic disc, Retinal nerve fibre layer, Structural defects, Eye
Publisher: School of Optometry and Vision Science
Year: 2010
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Bradford Scholars

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