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Do you have restless leg syndrome? I understood from your eyes



According to many studies in the literature, there is a strong association between restless leg syndrome and dopaminergic dysfunction. Dopamine is also the major catecholamine in the retina and is also a possible transmitter of the amacrine and interplexiform cells. The aim of this study is to investigate the possible association between RLS and retinal thickness.


In this study, we included 33 patients who were diagnosed with idiopathic RLS according to the “International RLS Study Group” criteria and 31 healthy subjects. All the patients and controls underwent routine ophthalmologic examination and had spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (OCT) performed. We compared the retinal thickness of the patients and control subjects.


In the RLS group, foveal thickness was thinner then controls. Also, only inferior, superior, and temporal quadrant retina nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness were significantly thinner in the RLS group. The parafoveal ganglion cell complex (GCC) in the superior temporal, inferior temporal, inferior nasal quadrant, and perifoveal superior nasal thickness was also significantly thinner in the patient group. Pearson correlation analyses showed that there were statistically significant negative correlations between disease duration and macular GCC and RNFL thickness. Negative correlations were also detected between parafoveal superior, temporal, inferior and nasal macular thickness, parafoveal superior nasal, inferior temporal GCC thickness, and perifoveal superior nasal GCC thickness and disease duration.


According to our results; most retinal layers are thinner in RLS patients, so it can be considered that OCT has a predictive value for progression of RLS.

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Correspondence to Volkan Solmaz.

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All authors certify that they have no affiliations with or involvement in any organization or entity with any financial interest (such as honoraria, educational grants, participation in speakers’ bureaus, membership, employment, consultancies, stock ownership, or other equity interest, and expert testimony or patent-licensing arrangements) or non-financial interest (such as personal or professional relationships, affiliations, knowledge or beliefs) in the subject matter or materials discussed in this manuscript.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Kose Ozlece, H., Solmaz, V., Özal, S.A. et al. Do you have restless leg syndrome? I understood from your eyes. Sleep Breath 23, 551–557 (2019).

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  • Restless leg syndrome
  • OCT
  • Retinal thickness