Background: Recently developed fundus microperimetry (MP-1; Nidek Technologies, Srl. Vigonza PD, Italy) was used to evaluate fixation patterns and retinal sensitivity in patients who had clinically significant macular edema with a diffuse pattern and type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Methods: In a prospective, observational case series study, 84 consecutive patients with type 2 diabetes (84 eyes) who had clinically significant macular edema with a diffuse pattern were studied by means of MP-1. Main outcome measures were fixation stability and position and mean retinal sensitivities within the central 2 degrees and 8 degrees areas. Logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution (logMAR) best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) was evaluated by means of an Early Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy Study chart. Foveal thickness was measured by Stratus optical coherence tomography (OCT; Carl Zeiss Meditec, Inc., Dublin, CA). Age, duration of diabetes, hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels, duration of symptoms, history of panretinal photocoagulation, vitreomacular adhesion, and cystoid macular changes were documented. Patients were grouped according to both position of fixation (central or eccentric) and stability of fixation (stable or unstable). Statistical analyses included independent samples t-test, binomial test, Bonferroni correction for multiple comparisons, and generalized linear model univariate analysis.
Results: Of 84 eyes, 44 (52.4%) had central fixation, and 40 (47.6%) had eccentric fixation. Of 84 eyes, 34 (40.5%) had stable fixation, and 50 (59.5%) had unstable fixation. In the whole sample, mean central 2 degrees retinal sensitivity +/- SD was 6.26 +/- 3.19 dB (range, 0-14.80 dB), and mean central 8 degrees retinal sensitivity +/- SD was 7.62 +/- 2.55 (range, 3.85-14.90 dB); logMAR BCVA ranged from 0.1 to 1.3 (mean +/- SD, 0.6 +/- 0.29). Mean OCT foveal thickness +/- SD was 300.77 +/- 66.93 m (range, 220-525 m). Both comparisons between groups (stable vs. unstable and central vs. eccentric) showed statistically significant differences in mean logMAR BCVA, mean central 2 degrees and 8 degrees retinal sensitivities, and mean OCT foveal thickness. Duration of symptoms was significantly longer and HbA1c levels were higher in the groups with deterioration of stability or centrality of fixation. The prevalence of cystoid macular changes was significantly higher in the groups with eccentric or unstable fixation (P < 0.001). Generalized linear model statistical analysis showed that logMAR BCVA was significantly associated with stability of fixation (P = 0.020), mean central 8 degrees retinal sensitivity (P < 0.001), and mean OCT foveal thickness (P < 0.001). The interaction between stability of fixation and mean OCT foveal thickness showed a statistically significant association with logMAR BCVA (P = 0.003). Some eyes with eccentric fixation presented with stable fixation, especially in the presence of long-lasting symptoms, and had better visual acuity than eyes with central, but unstable fixation.
Conclusion: Visual acuity, central retinal sensitivity, foveal thickness, duration of symptoms, HbA1c levels, and presence of cystoid macular changes were strongly associated with fixation impairment in type 2 diabetic patients who had clinically significant macular edema with a diffuse pattern. Stability of fixation and foveal thickness play a major role in conditioning BCVA.