Medical College of Wisconsin
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Outer retinal tubulation in degenerative retinal disorders. Retina 2013 Oct;33(9):1871-6



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PURPOSE: To demonstrate outer retinal tubulation (ORT) in various degenerative retinal disorders.

METHODS: This was a retrospective review of the multimodal imaging of 29 eyes of 15 patients with various retinal dystrophies and inflammatory maculopathies manifesting ORT. The morphologic features of ORT and its evolution over time were analyzed using spectral-domain optical coherence tomography data.

RESULTS: Outer retinal tubulation was identified as round or ovoid structures with hyperreflective borders in pattern dystrophy (six eyes), acute zonal occult outer retinopathy (five eyes), retinitis pigmentosa (four eyes), Stargardt disease (four eyes), gyrate atrophy (two eyes), choroideremia (two eyes), and various other degenerative conditions. These structures appeared to develop from the invagination of photoreceptors at the junction of intact and atrophic outer retina. During follow-up, the number and distribution of ORT largely remained stable. As zones of atrophy enlarged, the frequency of ORT appeared to increase. The ORT structures were found in <10% of patients with retinitis pigmentosa, Stargardt disease, or pattern dystrophy.

CONCLUSION: Outer retinal tubulation is found in various degenerative retinal disorders that share in common damage to the outer retina and/or retinal pigment epithelium. The presence of ORT may be an indicator of underlying disease stage and severity.

Author List

Goldberg NR, Greenberg JP, Laud K, Tsang S, Freund KB


Jonathan P. Greenberg MD Instructor in the Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Aged, 80 and over
Fluorescein Angiography
Middle Aged
Multimodal Imaging
Retinal Dystrophies
Retinal Photoreceptor Cell Outer Segment
Retrospective Studies
Tomography, Optical Coherence
Visual Acuity
Young Adult
jenkins-FCD Prod-409 d1e206b0be345926047b0d9c353c78a4cce4058b