Ocular Optical Coherence Tomography in the Evaluation of Sellar and Parasellar Masses

Neurosurgery 92:42–67, 2023

Compression of the anterior visual pathways by sellar and parasellar masses can produce irreversible and devastating visual loss.

Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a noninvasive high-resolution ocular imaging modality routinely used in ophthalmology clinics for qualitative and quantitative analysis of optic nerve and retinal structures, including the retinal ganglion cells.

By demonstrating structural loss of the retinal ganglion cells whose axons form the optic nerve before decussating in the optic chiasm, OCT imaging of the optic nerve and retina provides an excellent tool for detection and monitoring of compressive optic neuropathies and chiasmopathies due to sellar and parasellar masses.

Recent studies have highlighted the role of OCT imaging in the diagnosis, follow-up, and prognostication of the visual outcomes in patients with chiasmal compression. OCT parameters of optic nerve and macular scans such as peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer thickness and macular ganglion cell thickness are correlated with the degree of visual loss; additionally, OCT can detect clinically significant optic nerve and chiasmal compression before visual field loss is revealed on automated perimetry. Preoperative values of OCT optic nerve and macular parameters represent a prognostic tool for postoperative visual outcome.

This review provides a qualitative analysis of the current applications of OCT imaging of the retina and optic nerve in patients with anterior visual pathway compression from sellar and parasellar masses. We also review the role of new technologies such as OCT-angiography, which could improve the prognostic ability of OCT to predict postoperative visual function.