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Characterization of Retinal Thickness in Individuals with Albinism: Baseline Data for a Black South African Population

Authors Pillay E, Naidoo T, Asmal K, Maliwa L, Mchunua S, van Staden DB, Rampersad N

Received 4 September 2020

Accepted for publication 3 November 2020

Published 20 January 2021 Volume 2021:13 Pages 15—22


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Mr Simon Berry

Ethan Pillay, Thiroshnee Naidoo, Khadija Asmal, Lilitha Maliwa, Sinenhlanhla Mchunua, Diane Beverly van Staden, Nishanee Rampersad

Discipline of Optometry, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban X54001, South Africa

Correspondence: Nishanee Rampersad
Discipline of Optometry, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville Campus, Private Bag, Durban X54001, South Africa
Tel +27 31 260 7562
Fax +27 31 260 7666

Introduction: The central retina is responsible for several visual functions and continues to develop postnatally. In albinism, which is a genetic disorder characterized by impaired melanin biosynthesis, the development of the central retina is prematurely arrested and results in foveal hypoplasia. Retinal thickness measurements can be determined non-invasively using optical coherence tomography systems. This article reports on the retinal thickness measurements of individuals with albinism in South Africa to aid in the assessment and management of affected individuals.
Methods: The study used a comparative research design and included 60 individuals (30 albinism and 30 controls) aged from 10 to 30 years who accessed the eye clinic at a tertiary institution in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The Optovue iVue100 optical coherence tomographer was used to measure retinal thickness in the nine Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) sectors including the central foveal, parafoveal and perifoveal regions. Study data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics.
Results: The mean central foveal thickness was significantly higher in individuals with albinism compared with controls (289 μm versus 239 μm, p < 0.001). In contrast, control participants showed thicker retinal thickness measurements in the other ETDRS sectors (p < 0.001). The nasal and temporal quadrants were thickest and thinnest, respectively, in the parafoveal and perifoveal regions for the albinism and control groups.
Conclusion: Individuals with albinism, aged from 10 to 30 years, have higher central foveal thickness but thinner retinal thickness measurements in the parafoveal and perifoveal regions. Optometric personnel should consider these measurements when assessing individuals with albinism with foveal retinal diseases.

Keywords: albinism, fovea, foveal hypoplasia, optical coherence tomography, retinal thickness

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