Purpose: To evaluate the thicknesses of individual retinal layers,
and the correlation between structural changes and functional loss using
spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) scans and
electroretinograms (ERG), in eyes with autoimmune retinopathy (AIR).
Methods: SD-OCT raster scans of 12 eyes from 6 patients serologically diagnosed with AIR were evaluated.
Retinal layers were segmented along a 5 mm horizontal scan passing through the fovea. Retinal layers
analyzed include full retinal thickness (FRT), retinal pigment epithelium and Bruch’s membrane complex
(RPE+BM complex), photoreceptor layer (PRL), inner nuclear layer (INL), combined ganglion cell and inner
plexiform layers (GCL+), nerve fiber layer (NFL), and combined GCL+ and NFL layers (GCL+/NFL). Changes
in the thicknesses of the layers were assessed in 0.5 mm increments along the B-scan in the central, nasal,
and temporal regions. These recorded values were compared to corresponding values of 51 eyes from 51
subjects with no known ocular pathology. Full-field ERGs were obtained at corresponding visits and were
interpreted by a grader masked to the diagnoses and OCT findings.
Results: The mean age of the patients was 59.5 years (range, 33-83), with 4 males (66.6%). Within the control
population of 51 subjects, mean age was 51.5 years (range, 40-75), with 25 males (49%). Eyes with AIR
showed a loss of retinal tissue compared to eyes with no known ocular pathology at the fovea. Specifically, the
FRT, RPE+BM complex, and PRL exhibited thinning of statistically significance. ERG findings demonstrated a
functional deficit which showed a good correlation with structural loss. Fifty (50) percent of eyes experienced
central photoreceptor (rod and cone) dysfunction and 75% of eyes displayed peripheral photoreceptor (rod and
Conclusions: Eyes with AIR show a loss of retinal tissue compared to eyes with no known ocular pathology.
The greatest loss appears to occur in the RPE and PRL. ERG findings correlate strongly with the loss of tissue
seen in these layers. Thus, therapeutic options may be targeted to preserve these regions of the retina.