Retinal Vascular Changes in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: An Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography Study

Sisli Etfal Hastan Tip Bul. 2021 Jul 4;55(2):210-216. doi: 10.14744/SEMB.2020.28000. eCollection 2021.


Objectives: In the current study, we aimed to investigate retinal vascular density and blood flow changes in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) using optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) (AngioVue Avanti, Optovue).

Methods: Thirty eyes of 30 patients with COPD and 30 eyes of 30 healthy controls were evaluated with OCTA. Foveal and parafoveal vessel density, inner retinal and choriocapillary flow area, and foveal avascular zone (FAZ) area were measured and compared between the groups.

Results: No statistically significant differences were observed in the outer retinal flow area and choriocapillary flow area measurements between the groups (p=0.609 and p=0.162, respectively). There was no statistically significant difference in FAZ and FAZ perimeter values between the groups (p=0.725 and p=0.820, respectively). Vascular density measurements in the superficial foveal and parafoveal areas were not statistically significantly different between the groups (p>0.05, for all). Deep parafoveal vascular density values of the COPD group were statistically significantly lower than the control group in all investigated areas except the superior and inferior quadrants.

Conclusion: The results of our study demonstrated for the first time that vascular density decreased in the parafoveal area due to COPD-related hypoxemia and endothelial dysfunction.

Keywords: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; deep capillary plexus; foveal avascular zone; optical coherence tomography angiography; superficial capillary plexus.