Optical coherence tomography in patients with Wilson's disease


Wilson disease (WD) is an autosomal recessive disorder that leads to copper accumulation and deposition in different organs, frequently affecting visual pathways. Recent studies have detected morphological changes of the retina in patients with WD using optical coherence tomography (OCT). Measuring the thickness of the retinal nerve fibre layer (RNFL) with OCT provides an objective assessment of integrity and morphological abnormalities of the retina. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between OCT parameters and form of the disease, therapy and symptoms duration, as well as severity of neurological impairment.


The study comprised of 52 patients with WD and 52 healthy controls (HC). All the patients were on a regular and stable chelation therapy and/or zinc salts. Patients were divided into two groups, with neurological (NWD) or hepatic form of the disease (HWD). OCT was performed to assess the RNFL thickness.


The WD patients had significantly lower intraocular pressure in both eyes and lower RNFL thickness than the HC. There were no differences between NWD and HWD in any of the ophthalmologically tested parameters. No significant correlations were found between clinical features and retinal thickness parameters. Stratification of the cohort according to the disease duration showed that disease duration did not influence the RNFL thickness.


We found that involvement of the retina represented a subclinical finding in neurologically intact patients in the HWD group. Nevertheless, the value of OCT as a biomarker for the assessment of the clinical course and progression of WD still remains uncertain.

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