To use supervised machine learning to predict visual function from retinal structure in retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and apply these estimates to CEP290- and NPHP5-associated Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) to determine the potential for functional improvement.
Patients with RP (n = 20) and LCA due to CEP290 (n = 12) or NPHP5 (n = 6) mutations were studied. A patient with CEP290 mutations but mild retinal degeneration was included. RP patients had cone-mediated macular function. A machine learning technique was used to associate perimetric sensitivities to local structure in RP patients. Models trained on RP data were applied to predict visual function in LCA.
The RP and LCA patients had comparable retinal structure. RP patients had peak sensitivity at the fovea surrounded by decreasing sensitivity. Machine learning could successfully predict perimetry results from segmented or unsegmented optical coherence tomography (OCT) input. Application of machine learning predictions to LCA within the residual macular island of photoreceptor structure showed differences between predicted and measured sensitivities defining treatment potential. In patients with retained vision, the treatment potential was 4.6 ± 2.9 dB at the fovea but 16.4 ± 4.4 dB at the parafovea. In patients with limited or no vision, the treatment potential was 17.6 ± 9.4 dB.
Cone vision improvement potential in LCA due to CEP290 or NPHP5 mutations is predictable from retinal structure using a machine learning approach. This should allow individual prediction of the maximal efficacy in clinical trials and guide decisions about dosing. Similar strategies can be used in other retinal degenerations to estimate the extent and location of treatment potential.