Reduced retinal nerve fibre layer thickness in children with severe obesity

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Abstract

Background:

Some optic nerve diseases are silent and insidious. Recently, reduced thickness of retinal nerve fibre layer (RNFL) has been associated with increasing body mass index in adults.

Objectives:

To investigate the association of childhood obesity with RNFL measured by optical coherence tomography imaging.

Methods:

Ninety-seven children aged 5–14 years classified according to standard deviation score of body mass index (SDS-BMI) were included. Parameters of metabolic risk, adipocytokines (leptin, adiponectin) and interleukin-6 were analyzed. All subjects underwent a comprehensive ophthalmologic examination with direct ophthalmoscopy. Evaluation of RNFL with optical coherence tomography of the head of the nerve was performed.

Results:

RNFL thickness on the average and inferior, superior and nasal quadrants were decreased in severely obese children (SDS-BMI > 4) with respect to the other groups. However, no statistically significant association was found between the different groups of children and RNFL thickness in the temporal quadrant. There was a significant inverse correlation of RNFL thickness with adiposity indices (P = 0.016), leptin (P = 0.029) and interleukin-6 (P = 0.030) in overweight and obese children.

Conclusions:

These findings suggest that adiposity and obesity-related inflammatory factors may be associated with the loss of retinal ganglion cells in children.

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