Previous studies indicated abnormal development of fixation toward the optic nerve head in patients with the inherited retinal disease North Carolina macular dystrophy (NCMD). The implication of this development on functional vision and structural characteristics has not been described.Methods:
The anatomical characteristics of five NCMD-affected individuals were assessed by measuring the retinal thickness of the macula using optical coherence tomography. The underlying physiologic health of the retina was assessed using the multifocal ERG. Psychophysical assessment of remaining vision in the affected areas was done with a new microperimetry system that measures functional visual acuity at 27 discrete locations and the Humphrey visual field analyzer.Results:
All patients had better areas of visual sensitivity toward the nasal macula. Follow-up examination showed no changes in the clinical appearance of the retina. Visual acuities ranged from −0.10 logMAR (Snellen equivalent, approximately 20/16) to 0.50 logMAR (Snellen equivalent, approximately 20/63) in the better eye. No significant changes in visual acuity were found over time. Local multifocal electroretinogram deficits were found in all patients. Patients with grade 2 or 3 disease had large patches of decreased amplitudes and delayed implicit times. Results of the anatomical, electrophysiological, and psychophysical tests were consistent.Conclusion:
The electrophysiological and psychophysical deficits found in patients with more severe disease were consistent with an abnormal development of fixation from the anatomical fovea toward the optic nerve head with the placement of the lesion temporal to fixation (into the nasal visual field).