THE NATURAL HISTORY OF FULL-FIELD STIMULUS THRESHOLD DECLINE IN CHOROIDEREMIA

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Abstract

Purpose:

To evaluate full-field sensitivity thresholds (FSTs) across a wide range of choroideremia (CHM) disease stages and to determine their applicability as functional endpoints for CHM clinical trials.

Methods:

Thirty CHM subjects (60 eyes) and 50 healthy controls (50 eyes) underwent FST testing under dark-adapted conditions to determine rod- and cone-mediated FSTs. Central retinal structure and function were assessed using fundus autofluorescence and microperimetry. Correlation and regression analyses were performed to compare FST responses with the residual area of retinal pigment epithelium in the peri- and parafoveal regions, as well as the mean and highest macular microperimetry sensitivity.

Results:

All patients with CHM had a baseline of 18 dB elevation in dark-adapted rod FSTs, including the least affected individuals. Further FST sensitivity loss was exponentially associated with decrease in the area of residual peri- and parafoveal retinal pigment epithelium, with precipitous loss of sensitivity noted for fundus autofluorescence areas less than 5 mm2. Cone FSTs were comparable with controls, except for advanced stages of CHM. Full-field sensitivity threshold responses showed high correlation with both mean and highest macular microperimetry thresholds (P < 0.001). In some cases of absent macular fundus autofluorescence, the peripheral retina could contribute to detectable rod FST responses but with severely diminished cone-driven responses.

Conclusion:

Full-field sensitivity threshold testing demonstrated a baseline level of rod dysfunction in CHM present in all rod photoreceptors. Further decline in FST responses correlated strongly with the extent of central retina structural and functional loss. Full-field sensitivity threshold allowed quantification of residual rod function in peripheral islands of vision, which cannot be reliably achieved with other conventional tests. As such, the FST can serve as a complimentary tool to guide patient selection and expand the eligibility criteria for current and future CHM clinical trials.

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