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J Parkinsons Dis. 2018;8(1):85-92. doi: 10.3233/JPD-171184.

Progressive Changes in the Retinal Structure of Patients with Parkinson's Disease.

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Department of Neurology and Suzhou Clinical Research Center of Neurological Disease, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou, China.
Department of Ophthalmology, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou, China.
Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Neuropsychiatric Diseases and Institute of Neuroscience, Soochow University, Suzhou, Jiangsu, China.
Parkinson Disease Center of Beijing Institute for Brain Disorders, Beijing, China.



Many optical coherence tomography (OCT) studies have reported alterations in the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) in Parkinson's disease (PD) and other neurodegenerative diseases. However, whether retinal alterations are a biomarker for PD is still controversial.


To investigate potential correlations between PD and morphological changes in retina using OCT and to determine its usefulness as a biomarker of disease progression in PD.


We performed a cross-sectional study on patients with PD (N = 37) and age-matched controls (N = 42), followed by a longitudinal study of the PD patients (N = 22) over approximately 2.5 years.


The average retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness (p < 0.001), total macular thickness (p = 0.001), and macular volume (p = 0.001) were decreased in PD patients compared to controls and had further decreased at the follow-up visit (p < 0.05 for all). The average RNFL thickness and the total thickness of macular were negatively correlated with age in PD patients at baseline. Linear regression analysis revealed that age (p = 0.002, p = 0.003, respectively) and LEDD (p = 0.011, p = 0.013, respectively) were correlated to total thickness and volume of macular in 22 PD patients in the follow-up study. However, no correlation was found between RNFL and other parameters.


PD progression is associated with pronounced retinal structure changes, which can be quantified by OCT. Patterns of RNFL and macular damage detected by the noninvasive technology of OCT can be a useful biomarker for evaluating the progression of PD.


Macular; Parkinson’s disease; optical coherence tomography; retinal nerve fiber layer


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