Diagnosing Fibromyalgia May Be Possible Using Noninvasive Eye Examination

Diagnosing fibromyalgia (FM) can be difficult for clinicians because there is no specific diagnostic test and they often rely on a group of symptoms described by their patients.

Now, in a study titled “Fibromyalgia Is Correlated with Retinal Nerve Fiber Layer Thinning,” published in the journal PloS One, researchers revealed that a noninvasive eye examination can aid in diagnosing fibromyalgia.

Imaging techniques such as MRI can detect neuronal changes in pain-related brain regions of fibromyalgia patients. However, these types of exams are expensive and not always available in clinical practices. This led researchers to investigate visual loss in fibromyalgia patients, since it is a hallmark of neuronal dysfunction easily detected by routine tests.

The research team examined the visual function of 116 fibromyalgia patients and 144 age-matched healthy controls. Researchers used optical coherence tomography (OCT) to measure a layer of nerve fibers that coats the eye, known as the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL).

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