Retinal alterations in patients with Lafora disease

Heather Heitkotter, Rachel E. Linderman, Jenna A. Cava, Erica N. Woertz, Rebecca R. Mastey, Phyllis Summerfelt, Toco Y. Chui, Richard B. Rosen, Emily J. Patterson, Ajoy Vincent, Joseph Carroll, Berge A. Minassian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose: Lafora disease is a genetic neurodegenerative metabolic disorder caused by insoluble polyglucosan aggregate accumulation throughout the central nervous system and body. The retina is an accessible neural tissue, which may offer alternative methods to assess neurological diseases quickly and noninvasively. In this way, noninvasive imaging may provide a means to characterize neurodegenerative disease, which enables earlier identification and diagnosis of disease and the ability to monitor disease progression. In this study, we sought to characterize the retina of individuals with Lafora disease using non-invasive retinal imaging. Methods: One eye of three individuals with genetically confirmed Lafora disease were imaged with optical coherence tomography (OCT) and adaptive optics scanning light ophthalmoscopy (AOSLO). When possible, OCT volume and line scans were acquired to assess total retinal thickness, ganglion cell-inner plexiform layer thickness, and outer nuclear layer + Henle fiber layer thickness. OCT angiography (OCTA) scans were acquired in one subject at the macula and optic nerve head (ONH). AOSLO was used to characterize the photoreceptor mosaic and examine the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL). Results: Two subjects with previous seizure activity demonstrated reduced retinal thickness, while one subject with no apparent symptoms had normal retinal thickness. All other clinical measures, as well as parafoveal cone density, were within normal range. Nummular reflectivity at the level of the RNFL was observed using AOSLO in the macula and near the ONH in all three subjects. Conclusions: This multimodal retinal imaging approach allowed us to observe a number of retinal structural features in all three individuals. Most notably, AOSLO revealed nummular reflectivity within the inner retina of each subject. This phenotype has not been reported previously and may represent a characteristic change produced by the neurodegenerative process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101146
JournalAmerican Journal of Ophthalmology Case Reports
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Lafora disease
  • Nummular reflectivity
  • OCT
  • OCTA
  • RNFL

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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