Optical coherence tomography angiography in the multimodal assessment of the retinal posterior pole in autosomal dominant optic atrophy

Acta Ophthalmol. 2022 May;100(3):e798-e806. doi: 10.1111/aos.14972. Epub 2021 Jul 11.


Purpose: To assess retinal vascular involvement in patients with autosomal dominant optic atrophy (ADOA) genetically confirmed by the presence of the OPA1 (Optic Atrophy 1) gene mutation using a multimodal protocol of investigation of retinal posterior pole.

Methods: In this cross-sectional, case-control, observational study, both eyes of 13 patients with a genetic diagnosis of ADOA were compared with both eyes of 13 healthy controls (HCs). All subjects underwent full ophthalmological examination, spectral domain-optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT), fundus perimetry (FP) and OCT angiography (OCTA).

Results: Vessel density (VD) of the superficial and deep macular vascular plexi and of the radial peripapillary capillary plexus were significantly decreased (p ≤ 0.001) in ADOA patients compared with HCs. The area under the receiver operating characteristics analysis also revealed high values of sensitivity and specificity of OCTA parameters in distinguish between patients and HCs. A strong correlation (Pearson Coefficient, r = 0.91) emerged between OCTA VD of the superficial retinal plexus and the average Ganglion Cell Layer (GCL) thickness as measured by SD-OCT; a slightly lower correlation (Pearson Coefficient, r = 0.89) was also found between VD of the deep plexus and the average GCL thickness of the same eyes in patients with ADOA. The correlation among values of differential light sensitivity (DLS) measured by FP with VD and GCL thickness parameters was also investigated. The correlation analysis among DLS and the VD parameters showed from low-to-moderate correlation (ranging from r = 0.29 for the deep fovea VD to r = 0.59 for the deep whole image VD). The correlation coefficient between the mean DLS and the average thickness of GCL was more significant (Pearson Coefficient, r = 0.75). A significant correlation emerged also between the VD and the visual acuity, in terms of LogMAR BCVA (best-corrected visual acuity), especially for the VD of the deep capillary plexus (Pearson Coefficient for the Deep whole Image VD and LogMAR BCVA r = -0.75; for the Deep parafovea VD and LogMAR BCVA r = -0.78).

Conclusion: Retinal microvascular assessment by OCTA angiography can provide relevant clinical information on retinal involvement in ADOA patients. In patients with genetically confirmed OPA1-related ADOA, there is a decrease in retinal vessel density associated with GCL thinning and DLS reduction.

Keywords: autosomal dominant optic atrophy; fundus perimetry; optical coherence tomography angiography; retinal posterior pole; vessel density.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Angiography
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Fluorescein Angiography / methods
  • Humans
  • Optic Atrophy, Autosomal Dominant* / diagnosis
  • Optic Atrophy, Autosomal Dominant* / genetics
  • Retina
  • Retinal Vessels
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / methods