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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2018 Dec 3;59(15):5735-5744. doi: 10.1167/iovs.18-25452.

Longitudinal Assessment of Retinal Structure in Achromatopsia Patients With Long-Term Follow-up.

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UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, University College London, London, United Kingdom.
Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, United Kingdom.
Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States.



To longitudinally characterize structural retinal changes in achromatopsia (ACHM) over extended follow-up.


Fifty molecularly confirmed ACHM subjects underwent serial spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) and fundus autofluorescence (FAF) imaging. Foveal structure on SD-OCT was graded and compared for evidence of progression, and foveal total retinal thickness (FTRT) and outer nuclear layer (ONL) thickness were serially measured. FAF patterns were characterized and compared over time.


Mean SD-OCT follow-up was 61.6 months (age range at baseline, 6-52 years). Forty-five of the subjects had serial FAF (mean follow-up: 48.5 months). Only 6 (12%) of the subjects demonstrated qualitative change on serial foveal SD-OCT scans. Among the entire cohort, there was no statistically significant change over time in FTRT (P = 0.2459) or hyporeflective zone (HRZ) diameter (P = 0.3737). There was a small-but statistically significant-increase in ONL thickness (P = 0.0084). Three different FAF patterns were observed: centrally increased FAF (13/45), normal FAF (14/45), and well-demarcated reduced FAF (18/45), with the latter group displaying a small gradual increase in the area of reduced FAF of 0.055 mm2 over 43.4 months (P = 0.0011).


This longitudinal study of retinal structure in ACHM represents the largest cohort and longest follow-up period to date. Our findings support the presiding notion that ACHM is essentially a stationary condition regarding retinal structure, and any change over time is likely to be small, slow, and variable across patients. This may potentially afford a wider window for therapeutic intervention.

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