Subclinical Photoreceptor Disruption in Response to Severe Head Trauma | Traumatic Brain Injury | JAMA Ophthalmology | JAMA Network
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Research Letter
Mar 2012

Subclinical Photoreceptor Disruption in Response to Severe Head Trauma

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Departments of Ophthalmology (Drs Stepien, Martinez, and Carroll), Cell Biology, Neurobiology, and Anatomy (Mr Dubis and Dr Carroll), and Biophysics (Dr Carroll), Medical College of Wisconsin, and Department of Biomedical Engineering, Marquette University (Mr Cooper), Milwaukee; and Flaum Eye Institute, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York (Dr Dubra).

Arch Ophthalmol. 2012;130(3):400-402. doi:10.1001/archopthalmol.2011.1490

Commotio retinae is a transient opacification of the retina due to outer retinal disruption occurring in a contrecoup fashion after blunt trauma.1,2 Histological studies in animals and humans after ocular blunt trauma have revealed that disruption occurs at the level of the photoreceptor outer segments and retinal pigment epithelium.2,3 Recent reports using optical coherence tomography (OCT) have shown detectable disruption at the level of the photoreceptor inner segment/outer segment junction and retinal pigment epithelium4-6 and that these changes may be reversible over time with restoration of normal outer retinal architecture.5 However, the resolution of existing OCT technology may not be sensitive enough to detect photoreceptor disruption. Adaptive optics (AO) imaging systems enable cellular-resolution imaging of the human retina, and there is a growing number of cases where deficits have been visible on AO images but not on OCT. Herein, we report a case of subclinical photoreceptor disruption after head trauma as seen by an AO scanning ophthalmoscope (AOSO) but not apparent clinically or on spectral-domain OCT (SD-OCT).