Mesopic and Scotopic Light Sensitivity and Its Microstructural Correlates in Pseudoxanthoma Elasticum


Correlates for Bruch membrane alterations are needed for interventional trials targeting the Bruch membrane in pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE). To quantify mesopic and scotopic light sensitivity and identify its microstructural correlates associated with a diseased Bruch membrane in patients with PXE. A prospective, single-center, cross-sectional case-control study was conducted at a tertiary referral center from January 31, 2018, to February 20, 2020. Twenty-two eyes of 22 patients with PXE and 40 eyes of 40 healthy individuals were included. Data analysis was completed March 15, 2020. Mesopic and dark-adapted 2-color fundus-controlled perimetry (microperimetry) and multimodal retinal imaging including spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) and OCT angiography were performed. Perimetry thresholds were analyzed using mixed models, and structure-function correlation with SD-OCT data was performed using machine learning. Observed dark-adapted cyan sensitivity loss as measure of rod photoreceptor dysfunction, as well as mean absolute error between predicted and observed retinal sensitivity to assess the accuracy of structure-function correlation. Of the 22 patients with PXE included in this study, 15 were women (68%); median age was 56.5 years (interquartile range, 50.4-61.2). These patients exhibited mesopic (estimate, 5.13 dB; 95% CI, 2.89-7.38 dB), dark-adapted cyan (estimate, 9.08 dB; 95% CI, 6.34-11.82 dB), and dark-adapted red (estimate, 7.05 dB; 95% CI, 4.83-9.27 dB) sensitivity losses. This sensitivity loss was also evident in 9 eyes with nonneovascular PXE (mesopic: estimate, 3.21 dB; 95% CI, 1.28-5.14 dB; dark-adapted cyan: 5.93 dB; 95% CI, 3.59-8.27 dB; and dark-adapted red testing: 4.84 dB; 95% CI, 2.88-6.80 dB), showing a distinct centrifugal pattern of sensitivity loss with preserved function toward the periphery. Retinal function could be predicted from microstructure with high accuracy (mean absolute errors, of 4.91 dB for mesopic, 5.44 dB for dark-adapted cyan, and 4.99 dB for dark-adapted red). The machine learning-based analysis highlighted an association of a thinned inner retina and putative separation of the pigment-epithelium-photoreceptor complex with sensitivity loss. In this study, among 22 patients with PXE, those with and without choroidal neovascularization exhibited reductions of retinal sensitivity being most pronounced in dark-adapted cyan testing. This finding suggests that pathologic characteristics of this Bruch membrane disease may be dominated by rod photoreceptor degeneration and/or dysfunction. A putative pigment-epithelium-photoreceptor separation may further impair rod function, while inner retinal abnormalities appear to be correlated with overall dysfunction.

JAMA Ophthalmol