To investigate microstructural changes in the macular inner retinal layers over time in the fellow eyes of patients with unilateral central retinal artery occlusion (CRAO).
Spectral-domain optical coherence tomography scans of 16 patients with CRAO were performed at initial examination (1st day), at 1st month, at 3rd month, at 6th month, and the central macular thickness (CMT) and inner retinal layer thicknesses in the fellow eyes of the patients were compared between each visit. The thicknesses of retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL), ganglion cell layer (GCL), inner plexiform layer (IPL), and inner nuclear layer (INL) were calculated in 9 quadrants according to the definition by the Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study.
CMT decreased over a 6-month period, but the difference was insignificant among visits (p = 0.072). Also, there were no significant differences in the thicknesses of RNFL and GCL among visits (p > 0.05 for all quadrants). But there was thinning in the parafoveal superior and perifoveal superior quadrants of the IPL (p = 0.007, p = 0.01) and in the parafoveal temporal quadrant of the INL (p = 0.033) within 6 months of follow-up in the fellow eyes of the patients with CRAO.
This study demonstrated subclinical alterations of the macular inner retinal layers over time in the fellow eyes of CRAO patients.