Chronic rhinosinusitis can be debilitating for patients and cause obvious symptoms in the nose and throat, but this condition may also adversely impact the eye, new research suggests.

The investigative team from Turkey found chronic rhinosinusitis appears to cause thinning of the choroid and retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL), especially in the superior and inferior quadrants and ganglion cell-inner plexiform layer (GCIPL). This is resumably related to hypoxia, endothelial dysfunction, inflammation and vascular dysregulation, they said.

The prospective controlled study enrolled 90 eyes of 90 patients, including 30 eyes of chronic rhinosinusitis individuals with nasal polyposis, 30 eyes of chronic rhinosinusitis subjects without nasal polyposis and 30 eyes of healthy controls. The researchers evaluated only the right eye of each patient. All participants underwent full otorhinolaryngologic and ophthalmologic exams, including SD-OCT.

The average thickness of the rhinosinusitis patients’ RNFL overall and in the superior and inferior quadrants was significantly lower compared with the control group. Additionally, the GCIPL thickness in all sectors was thinner in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis, with significantly lower values noted in all sectors except for the inferior segment. The mean average GCIPL thickness overall and in the inferior sector was markedly lower in the chronic rhinosinusitis individuals with nasal polyposis.

Ocular manifestations of chronic rhinosinusitis should be taken in consideration during the management of this disease, the researchers noted.

Karakahya RH, Korkmaz M, Korkmaz H. Decreased retinal nerve fiber and choroidal thickness in chronic rhinosinusitis. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. March 11, 2021. [Epub ahead of print].