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Ophthalmic Molecular Genetics
March 1998

Clinical Features in Affected Individuals From 21 Pedigrees With Dominant Optic Atrophy

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Molecular Genetics (Drs Votruba and Bhattacharya) and Visual Science (Dr Fitzke), Institute of Ophthalmology, University College, London, London, England; and Departments of Ophthalmology (Drs Votruba and Moore) and Electrophysiology, Moorfields Eye Hospital, London (Dr Holder and Mr Carter).

Arch Ophthalmol. 1998;116(3):351-358. doi:10.1001/archopht.116.3.351

Objective  To assess phenotypic variation of affected individuals from British families with autosomal dominant optic atrophy.

Design  Eighty-seven patients from 21 families showing evidence of linkage to chromosome 3q were identified via the Genetic Clinic of Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, England. Genetic linkage analysis was carried out with markers from chromosome 3q28-qter. Patients underwent clinical examination and psychophysical and electrophysiological testing.

Results  Best-corrected visual acuity ranged from 20/20 (6/6 m) to light perception. Although visual acuity was not significantly worse in older patients in the group (χ2=3.20, df=4, P>.50), it did deteriorate with age in one third of the families. Subtle or temporal pallor of the optic disc occurred in 96 (55%) of 174 eyes and total atrophy in 76 (44%). Tritanopia was found in 6 (7.5%) of 80 patients; 65 (81.2%) had a mixed color deficit. A cecocentral scotoma was found in the vast majority. Peripheral motion detection threshold was elevated in areas of visual field with raised mean surround sensitivity but not elsewhere. Pattern visual evoked potentials were of reduced amplitude and delayed. Pattern electroretinograms showed a reduced N95 component in keeping with primary ganglion cell dysfunction.

Conclusions  There is wide intrafamilial and interfamilial phenotypic variation in autosomal dominant optic atrophy, with visual function in some, but not all, families deteriorating with age. There is evidence of degeneration of the ganglion cell layer predominantly from central retina, but this is not the exclusive result of either parvocellular or magnocellular cell loss.