Neuroimmunology Program - IDIBAPS

Why do we study the visual pathway in patients like MS and NO?

Visual Pathway includes a set of structures from the retina to visual cortex

WHY ARE WE EVALUATING VISUAL PATHWAY IN PATIENTS WITH ACUTE OPTIC NEURITIS?

In the acute optic neuritis (AON), there is inflammation of the optic nerve that is the structure that communicates the retina with the brain. Assessing the visual pathway damage is important to understand the mechanisms behind this injury and informs the patient about his/her prognosis.

WHY ARE WE EVALUATING VISUAL PATHWAY IN PATIENTS WITH MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS?

Visual Pathway is frequently affected in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). The visual pathway involvement is similar to the damage observed in other pathways but the great advantage for the visual pathway is that we have simple, quick and non-invasive ancillary test to monitor damage in the visual nerves in MS such as multifocal visual evoked potentials (mfVEP), optical coherence tomography (OCT), visual function test including low-contrast visual acuity (LCVA) and color vision.

Retina is part of the central nervous system and it contains neurons that are similar to the ones in the brain. As opposite to brain neurons that needs to be assessed using magnetic resonance imaging or other imaging modalities, retina is directly accessible because we can see it throughout the eye pupil. Previous studies have probed that there is a relationship between retinal neuronal injury and brain neuronal injury. We can say that the eye is our window to the brain. Furthermore, we have attended a truthful technological revolution that has provided us with new devices to evaluate structure of the retina (optical coherence tomography), nerve conduction of the retina (electroretinography) and metabolic content of the retina (raman spectroscopy).