Simple eye scan can reveal extent of Multiple Sclerosis

A simple eye test may offer a fast and easy way to monitor patients with multiple sclerosis (MS)

simple eye scan of retina

simple eye scan of retina

Thickness of retina to monitor MS

In a trial involving 164 people with multiple sclerosis (MS), those with thinning of their retina had earlier and more active MS. A simple eye test may offer a fast and easy way to monitor patients with multiple sclerosis. The team of researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine say larger trials with a long follow up are needed. The test takes a few minutes per eye and can be performed in a doctor’s surgery.

Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) is the test that measures the thickness of the lining at the back of the eye – the retina.

Unpredictable disease

Multiple Sclerosis is a very unpredictable disease, It is an illness that affects the nerves in the brain and spinal cord causing problems with muscle movement, balance and vision. Brain scans can reveal inflammation and scarring. It is not clear how early these changes might occur in the disease and whether they accurately reflect ongoing damage.

Nerve cells in retina have no myelin sheath

Nerve cells in the rest of the brain which are covered with protective myelin, the nerve cells in the retina are bare with no myelin coat. Experts suspect that this means the nerves here will show the earliest signs of MS damage.

Retina nerve cells

As more therapies are developed to slow the progression of MS, testing retinal thinning in the eyes may be helpful in evaluating how effective those therapies are. There are other test such as a lumbar puncture but they take longer and are more invasive.

Go to BBC  Internet to read the article.

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