School of Medicine

Wayne State University School of Medicine

OCT in Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a degenerative disorder associated with death of dopamine producing cells within the brain which results in motion disorders, like tremors.

PD can also cause visual symptoms associated with spatial contrast sensitivity, motion perception abnormalities, color deficiencies and visual hallucinations.  Past studies have found dopaminergic neuronal cells within the third layer of the retina, the inner plexiform layer, drawing a link between PD and the retina.  Initial observations of PD and OCT found no significant differences in the Retinal Nerve Fiber Layer thickness as compared to healthy age matched controls, however macular volume was noticed to be thinner than average, indicating loss within another layer.

We are collecting data to evaluate any correlations between macular thinning, specifically in the ganglion cell layer and inner plexiform layer of the retina and progression in Parkinson’s Disease.  We plan to use the OCT outcomes to increase our knowledge of the disease as it relates to clinical progression and presentation, and to hopefully aid in the diagnosis of this disease.

Currently we have found coronations with thinning of the macular volume, and with segmentation of the layers, we discovered significant loss of volume within three of the layers along with significant thickening in one.  This data is in the process of being published.


3D reconstruction of the macula, including the 10 layers of the retina and part of the chorioid. Image taken using the 61 line posterior pole scan