Retinal nerve fibre layer thickness as a neurological dysfunction marker in fibromyalgia patients

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Abstract

Purpose

To assess retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness in patients affected by fibromyalgia.

Methods

39 patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia and 39 age-matched healthy controls underwent a complete neuropsychiatric and ophthalmologic examination including best-corrected visual acuity, contrast sensitivity test, and the new Nsite Axonal Analytics application of the spectral domain Optical Coherence Tomography (SD-OCT). Statistical analysis was conducted to compare RNFL thicknesses between patients and controls.

Results

RNFL thickness was significantly reduced in fibromyalgia patients (94.2±16.8) compared with healthy controls (102.9±10.2) in the mean values (p=0.007, Student t test), the ratio (cases=0.9±0.3, controls=1.1±0.3, p=0.022), the superonasal (cases=99.3±20.3, controls=116.4±16.7, p<0.001), inferonasal (cases=96.7±28.5, controls=126.2±25.9, p<0.001) and inferotemporal quadrant (cases=134±26.9, controls=144.7±19, p=0.048).

Conclusion

Fibromyalgia patients showed a reduction of peripapillary RNFL thickness evaluated by SD-OCT. These findings, which have never been document in patients with fibromyalgia, suggest that neuronal degeneration could be present in the retina of fibromyalgia patients as previously observed in other neurodegenerative disorders.

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