BackgroundChanges in skin and muscle small blood vessels (SBVs) and microvascular structures of the brain have been reported in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). A direct assessment of brain SBVs in vivo is currently not feasible. Retinal vessels are considered a “mirror” of brain SBVs. In this study, we used optic coherence tomography (OCT)-based measurements to detect changes in retinal blood vessels of ALS patients compared to those of healthy controls.MethodsWe analysed Spectralis-OCT images of 34 ALS patients and 20 HCs. The inner wall thickness (IWT), outer wall thickness (OWT), and lumen diameter (LD) of retinal vessels were assessed using intensity-based measurements. In addition, the different retinal layers were analysed using automated segmentation software. The correlations between the various retinal layers and clinical parameters [e.g., disease duration and revised ALS functional rating scale (ALS-FRS-R)] were examined.ResultsThe OWT of retinal vessels was higher in ALS patients than in HCs (p = 0.04). There were no differences in the IWT, LD. ALS patients showed a thinning of the outer nuclear layer (ONL) compared to HCs (median 1.63 vs. 1.77, p = 0.002). The whole retinal thickness negatively correlated with the ALS-FRS scale (r = 0.3, p = 0.03).ConclusionOur study reports retinal vessel pathology in ALS patients. These changes may be related to those observed in SBVs in skin and muscle biopsies. Furthermore, we report a thinning of the ONL in ALS, revealing a possible affection of rods and cones function in ALS.