Retinal nerve fiber layer thickness in amnestic mild cognitive impairment: Case-control study and meta-analysis

Brianna Knoll, Joseph Simonett, Nicholas J. Volpe, Sina Farsiu, Mallory Ward, Alfred Rademaker, Sandra Weintraub, Amani A. Fawzi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Introduction Retinal structural changes in subjects with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) remain a subject of controversy. Methods We investigated the correlation between optical coherence tomography (OCT) of the retinal sublayers, including the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL), and cognitive function in subjects with amnestic MCI and compared the OCT findings with matched controls. We also performed a meta-analysis of the world literature using a random-effects model. Results We found no statistically significant differences in OCT between amnestic MCI (aMCI) and controls. In aMCI subjects, we found an inverse relationship between RNFL thickness and two cognitive tests (delayed story recall and a word-list learning test and the word-list test). The meta-analysis revealed a statistically significant decrease in RNFL thickness in MCI subjects. Discussion The inverse relationship between cognitive testing and RNFL thickness suggests that retinal involvement may include paradoxically increased thickness of the RNFL, which could suggest gliotic reactive changes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-93
Number of pages9
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment and Disease Monitoring
StatePublished - 2016


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Biomarkers
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Optical coherence tomography
  • Retinal nerve fiber layer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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