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In vivo evaluation of retinal ganglion cells degeneration in eyes with branch retinal vein occlusion
  1. Rayan A Alshareef1,
  2. Giulio Barteselli2,
  3. Qisheng You3,4,
  4. Abhilash Goud5,
  5. Asiya Jabeen5,
  6. Harsha L Rao6,7,
  7. Ayesha Jabeen5,
  8. Jay Chhablani5
  1. 1Department of Ophthalmology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  2. 2Genentech, Inc, South San Francisco, California, USA
  3. 3Beijing Tongren Eye Center, Beijing, China
  4. 4Jacobs Retina Center at Shiley Eye Center, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA
  5. 5Smt. Kanuri Santhamma Retina Vitreous Centre, L.V. Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
  6. 6VST Glaucoma Center, L.V. Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
  7. 7Narayana Netralaya, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jay Chhablani, Smt. Kanuri Santhamma Centre for Vitreo-Retinal Diseases, L.V. Prasad Eye Institute, L.V. Prasad Marg, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad 500 034, Telangana, India; jay.chhablani{at}


Purpose To analyse the topographic changes in retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in eyes with unilateral naive branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO) in comparison to normal fellow eyes and to healthy control eyes.

Methods We performed a retrospective analysis of 66 eyes (33 subjects) with naive unilateral BRVO who underwent spectral-domain optical coherence tomography using Cirrus HD-OCT. We also included 67 eyes of 48 age-matched healthy volunteers as control group. Average, minimum and sectoral macular ganglion cell-inner plexiform layer (GCIPL) thickness, macular retinal nerve fibre layer (RNFL) thickness and outer retinal thickness were collected. Comparison of the GCIPL, RNFL and outer retinal thicknesses among study eyes, normal fellow eyes and control groups was performed.

Results The average and minimum macular GCIPL thicknesses were constantly and diffusely reduced in BRVO compared with normal fellow eyes and healthy controls (p<0.001 for each GCIPL sector). The average macular RNFL thickness was reduced in BRVO eyes compared with normal fellow eyes (p=0.01) and tended to be lower than controls (p=0.07). The minimum RNFL thickness in eyes with BRVO was significantly reduced when compared with fellow eyes (p<0.001) and control eyes (p<0.001). The average outer retina thickness was thicker in BRVO eyes compared with both fellow eyes (p<0.001) and controls (p<0.001).

Conclusions A significant reduction of the macular GCIPL and RNFL thicknesses was observed in eyes with BRVO. This finding is suggestive of RGCs degeneration; the neuroprotective effect of current therapeutic options might be an important consideration when evaluating treatment strategies and prognosticating visual outcome in BRVO eyes.

  • Retina
  • Imaging

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  • Contributors Conception and design: JC; analysis and interpretation: JC, RAA, HLR, QY; writing the article: RAA, JC, QY; critical revision of the article: RAA, JC, GB, AYJ, ASJ, QY; final approval of the article: RAA, JC, QY, GB, AG, AYJ, ASJ, HLR; data collection: JC, HLR, AG; provision of materials, patients or resources: JC, RAA, AG, AYJ, ASJ, HLR; statistical expertise: QY, HLR; obtaining funding: none; literature search: RAA, QY, GB, AYJ, ASJ, JC; administrative, technical or logistic support: JC, AG.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval Institutional board review of L V Prasad Institute. This study was conducted in accordance with the tenets of the Declaration of Helsinki.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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