Effects of chronic methamphetamine abuse on the retinal nerve fiber layer, ganglion cell layer and Bruch's membrane opening minimum rim width

Mohammad Reza Talebnejad, Peyman Khazaei, Hamidreza Jahanbani-Ardakani, Zahra Saberi Kia, Ebrahim Moghimi Sarani, Mohammad Reza Khalili
Neurotoxicology 2020 July 26, 80: 140-143

BACKGROUND: Methamphetamine (Meth) is a highly addictive and hallucinogenic agent which is used as the second most common illicit drug globally. Meth could affect the retina and optic nerve by inducing the release of vasoconstrictive agents such as endothelin 1 and induction of severe oxidative stress with accumulation of reactive oxygen species.

AIM: To evaluate the effects of chronic Meth abuse on the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL), ganglion cell layer (GCL) and the Bruch's membrane opening minimum rim width (MRW).

METHOD: In this case-control study, we recruited 55 Meth abusers and 49 healthy individuals with mean age of 44.63 ± 0.97 and 43.08 ± 0.91 years, respectively. RNFL thickness, GCL thickness and MRW were evaluated using optical coherence tomography.

RESULTS: We found statistically significant decrease in RNFL, MRW thickness in Meth abusers (P: 0.002 and P: 0.006, respectively). We did not detect statistically significant difference regarding GCL thickness between the groups (P = 0.320). Our results showed a weak but statistically significant correlation of Meth dose increment and decrement of RNFL thickness ((P: 0.005, r = -0.193) and MRW (P: 0.013, r = -0.174). We found no correlation between duration of Meth consumption with RNFL and MRW thickness (P: 0.205, r= -0.124; P: 0.771, r= -0.029, respectively).

CONCLUSION: We found a statistically significant adverse association in meth abusers with RNFL thickness and MRW. These two parameters were also statistically associated with the meth dose as measured by daily dose of Meth. Although we found a decrease in the GCL thickness, it did not reach statistical significance.

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