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EPMA J. 2017 Dec 22;9(1):21-33. doi: 10.1007/s13167-017-0123-5. eCollection 2018 Mar.

Optical coherence tomography in neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders: potential advantages for individualized monitoring of progression and therapy.

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NeuroCure Clinical Research Center, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Corporate Member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Berlin Institute of Health, Charitéplatz 1, 10117 Berlin, Germany.
Department of Neurology, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, corporate member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Berlin Institute of Health, Berlin, Germany.
3Experimental and Clinical Research Center, Max-Delbrück-Centrum für Molekulare Medizin und Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany.


Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders (NMOSD) are mostly relapsing inflammatory disorders of the central nervous system (CNS). Optic neuritis (ON) is the first NMOSD-related clinical event in 55% of the patients, which causes damage to the optic nerve and leads to visual impairment. Retinal optical coherence tomography (OCT) has emerged as a promising method for diagnosis of NMOSD and potential individual monitoring of disease course and severity. OCT not only detects damage to the afferent visual system caused by ON but potentially also NMOSD-specific intraretinal pathology, i.e. astrocytopathy. This article summarizes retinal involvement in NMOSD and reviews OCT methods that could be used now and in the future, for differential diagnosis, for monitoring of disease course, and in clinical trials.


Diagnosis, differential; Disease progression; Neuromyelitis optica; Optic neuritis; Retina; Tomography, optical coherence; Vision disorders

Conflict of interest statement

Compliance with ethical standardsF. C. Oertel reports no conflicts of interest. H. Zimmermann received speaker honorary from TEVA and Bayer Healthcare, independent from this work. A. U. Brandt received consulting fees unrelated to this study for research from Novartis, Biogen, Motognosis, Teva, and Bayer. FP received research support from the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF/KKNMS; Competence Network Multiple Sclerosis), the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) (grant exc. 257), and from the Guthy Jackson Charitable Foundation and National Multiple Sclerosis Society as well as research grants and speaker honoraria from Bayer, Teva, Genzyme, Merck, Novartis, MedImmune and is member of the steering committee of the OCTIMS study (Novartis).

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