One-Year Changes in Optic Nerve Head Parameters in Recovered COVID-19 Patients

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Burgos Blasco, Bárbara
Güemes Villahoz, Noemi
Vidal Villegas, Beatriz
Martínez de la Casa, Jose Maria
Donate López, Juan
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Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins ; North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society
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Background: The main purpose was to evaluate the changes in peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness and vessel density (VD) in post–COVID-19 patients during 12-month follow-up. Methods: In this prospective study, patients with COVID-19 who were attended in the Hospital Clinico San Carlos (Madrid, Spain) were included. All patients underwent a complete ophthalmological examination, optic nerve head optical coherence tomography (OCT), and OCT angiography (OCTA) using the Cirrus HD-OCT 5,000 with AngioPlex OCTA 1, 3, and 12 months after laboratory-confirmed diagnosis. Sociodemographic data, medical history, disease severity, and laboratory workup were registered. Results: A total of 180 eyes of 90 patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection were included; the mean age was 55.5 ± 8.9 years, and 46 patients (51%) were females. The mean visual acuity was 0.76 ± 0.16, and no abnormalities attributable to SARS-CoV-2 were detected in the ocular or fundus examination. No differences in the OCT and OCTA data were found between severity groups in each visit (all P > 0.05). Overall, there was a decrease in RNFL global thickness (P < 0.001) from the first to the last visit, and an increase in VD and flux index was noted in some sectors at the 12-month examination. A significant correlation was detected at 12 months between vascularization parameters and RNFL thickness. Conclusions: One year after SARS-CoV-2 infection, changes in peripapillary RNFL thickness and vascularization occur, possibly indicating a recovery in such parameters.