PURPOSE: To investigate the natural disease course of retinal dystrophies associated with crumbs cell polarity complex component 1 (CRB1) and identify clinical end points for future clinical trials.
DESIGN: Single-center, prospective case series.
METHODS: An investigator-initiated nationwide collaborative study that included 22 patients with CRB1-associated retinal dystrophies. Patients underwent ophthalmic assessment at baseline and 2 years after baseline. Clinical examination included best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) using Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study charts, Goldmann kinetic perimetry (V4e isopter seeing retinal areas), microperimetry, full-field electroretinography, full-field stimulus threshold (FST), fundus photography, spectral-domain optical coherence tomography, and fundus autofluorescence imaging.
RESULTS: Based on genetic, clinical, and electrophysiological data, patients were diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa (19 [86%]), cone-rod dystrophy (2 [9%]), or isolated macular dystrophy (1 [5%]). Analysis of the entire cohort at 2 years showed no significant changes in BCVA (P = .069) or V4e isopter seeing retinal areas (P = .616), although signs of clinical progression were present in individual patients. Macular sensitivity measured on microperimetry revealed a significant reduction at the 2-year follow-up (P < .001). FST responses were measurable in patients with nonrecordable electroretinograms. On average, FST responses remained stable during follow-up.
CONCLUSION: In CRB1-associated retinal dystrophies, visual acuity and visual field measures remain relatively stable over the course of 2 years. Microperimetry showed a significant decrease in retinal sensitivity during follow-up and may be a more sensitive progression marker. Retinal sensitivity on microperimetry may serve as a functional clinical end point in future human treatment trials for CRB1-associated retinal dystrophies.