MS progression: The eyes have it

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In-office eye scans that assess thinning of the retina may help doctors predict the progression of multiple sclerosis (MS), a new study suggests.

The study, published in Neurology, involved 164 people with MS, including 59 who had no disease activity. All participants underwent eye scans that measured thinning of a portion of their retinas every six months for approximately 21 months. MRI brain scans of the study participants had been performed previously.

Retinal thinning was 42 percent faster in those participants who had suffered from MS relapses, compared to those who had not had such relapses. Retinal thinning was also faster in people who had "gadolinium-enhancing lesions" (inflammatory lesions), which were detected with the help of the MRI scans.