Reduced retinal layer thickness could indicate future disability risk in early relapsing multiple sclerosis

  • Among patients with early relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS), reduced retinal layer thickness is associated with a significantly increased risk for worsening disability.
  • Of 231 newly diagnosed patients included in the prospective observational study, 12.1% reached an Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score of 3.0 or higher – indicating disability accumulation – during a median 49 months of follow-up. On multivariate analysis, this outcome was significantly predicted by baseline macular ganglion-cell-and-inner-plexiform-layer (GCIPL) thickness below 77 μm and peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer (pRNFL) thickness of 88 μm or less.
  • Other factors associated with increased risk of disability accumulation included incomplete remission following first clinical MS attack, older age, having at least 10 magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) lesions, and infratentorial MRI lesions.