Dr. Swati Mishra, Dr. Sarang Lambat, Dr. Prabhat Nangia, Dr. Vinay Nangia
A male, 73 years of age, presented to SEI for glaucoma follow up. He had a history of angle closure and was using Latanoprost +Timolol maleate combination eye drops for the same. On examination the visual acuity was 6/9, N6 in both eyes (BE) with a correction of +1.75 DS in RE and + 2.50 DS with +0.50 DC in LE. The anterior segment showed BE shallow anterior chamber with Von Hericks grading I and immature cataract. BE had Yag-PI which was patent. Intraocular pressure (IOP) measured with Goldman applanation tonometer was 24 mmHg in right eye (RE) and 20 mmHg in left eye (LE) on combination eye drops. Gonioscopy in BE showed angles opening upto anterior trabecular meshwork in all quadrant.
In our patient, the myelinated retinal nerve fibers were seen only in the Right eye clinically and in the parapapillary area. There was a hint of myelination in the left eye also inferior and superior to the disc. The appearance of the RNFL in the retinal thickness scan gives the appearance of hyper reflective peaks in the area of presence of myelination of RNFL. These peaks are unnatural and often trick the OCT into a false segmentation and a giving a relatively higher RNFL thickness measurement. In such a situation it is best left to our clinical judgement specially by looking at the cup disc ratio. Often the only thing seen clearly is the cup and sometimes parts of the neuroretinal rim are also seen. In our patient fortunately only a small part of the superior neuroretinal rim of the RE is not visible clearly in the RE. On a different scan protocol as seen in figure 5, the segmentation will not take place, but the clinical appearance of the RNFL is relatively normal. This can be used in the absence of segmentation and RNFL thickness values, based on the clinical appearance specially of the superior and inferior humps and the macular RNFL to help make a decision if the optic nerve is healthy. A manual measurement of the Retinal nerve fibre at the humps, and at the macular may also be done to help with the follow up. Glaucoma is perhaps the most important diagnosis that one needs to consider. The other important option is to do a ganglion cell scan and a perimetry in such patient and not rely completely on the RNFL thickness values. it is of interest that the hyper reflectivity of the myelinated RNFL in the scan does not allow the outer retinal layers and the choroid to be seen clearly. Retinal myelin is known to be lost in the area of the glaucomatous damage. This would need serial colour fundus optic disc photography follow up in patients suspected or diagnosed to have glaucoma.
It has also been shown that multicolour photography and infrared images may be better able to delineate the optic nerve margins and therefore the neuroretinal rim may be assessed better using these modalities in such patients.
Our patient may be an important example since he has been diagnosed to have primary angle closure disease and is on treatment. While the eye with the obvious myelinated nerve fiber does not show any definite loss, there is an apparent loss in the LE, largely due to the nasal shifting of the RNFL. However the message is that this patient would need to be on long term follow up to detect the first signs of evolving glaucomatous damage.
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