Could fibromyalgia actually be diagnosed with a simple eye test?
It could very well be.
In Spain there was a study done Fibromyalgia Is Correlated with Retinal Nerve Fiber Layer Thinning, in PLOS One where they look at using a OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) which is a non-evasive imaging test to look at the retinal nerve fiber layer. The study had 116 subject with FM and 144 controls.
This layer looks to be atrophied in people with FM compared to their control group. Reminds me a lot of the brain imaging work where we have atrophying in certain areas there as well… but this can be easily imaged.
Apparently when looking at the retinal nerve fiber layer of the FM subjects there was axonal damage in the optic nerve even in the early stages of FM. “Our results revealed that even patients with mild FM (Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire <60) exhibited subclinical RNFL atrophy in the temporal sectors,” wrote Elena Garcia-Martin
There was also distinctions found within FM subgroups. Those with biologic FM which has low depression and anxiety, but high pain, were showing significant decrease in the retinal nerve fiber layer in the temporal inferior and temporal superior areas compared to FM subjects who have depressive or atypical FM.
These tests are non-invasive, cost effective and can assist with diagnosis
Longer-term studies are required to evaluate the clinical application of RNFL measurements in FM patients as a diagnostic tool, to follow disease progression, to identify patients with worse prognosis or at higher risk for loss of quality of life, and to measure treatment effectiveness.,” PLOS
Fibromyalgia causes subclinical axonal damage in the RNFL that can be detected using innocuous and non-invasive OCT, even in the early disease stages. The impact on the RNFL in the temporal sectors is greater in patients with biologic fibromyalgia, suggesting the presence of neurodegenerative processes in this subgroup of patients with fibromyalgia.PLOS