Early Retinal Microcirculation in Nonfunctioning Pituitary Adenomas Without Visual Field Defects Using Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography

J Neuroophthalmol. 2022 Apr 27. doi: 10.1097/WNO.0000000000001562. Online ahead of print.


Background: For patients with nonfunctioning pituitary adenoma (NFPA) without manifesting visual acuity impairment or visual field defect (VFD), more sensitive and objective assessment methods will allow earlier detection before irreversible damage to the visual system. This study aimed to evaluate retinal vessel densities (VDs) alterations in these patients using optical coherence tomography angiography and to determine its diagnostic abilities.

Methods: Between patients with NFPA without VFDs and age-matched, sex-matched healthy control individuals, comparisons of visual field metrics, retinal structural thickness, and microcirculation were conducted after adjusting for axial length (AL) and signal index of scans. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were further depicted to assess the diagnostic performance of significant parameters. To explore the impact of symptom duration, tumor size, and axial length on the significant parameters, multivariate regression analysis was conducted.

Results: This cross-sectional study reviewed 107 patients with NFPA. Twenty-seven eyes of patients with NFPA without VFDs and 27 eyes of healthy controls were enrolled. Compared with healthy controls, patients with NFPA without VFDs had similar foveal avascular zone areas and perimeters, macular ganglion cell complex (mGCC) and peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer thicknesses, and macular VDs. Only the VD in the radial peripapillary capillary (RPC) segment of the inferior temporal (IT) sector was much lower in the patient group. The 2 largest area under the ROC curves were the focal loss volume (FLV) of the mGCC and the VD in the RPC of the IT sector, both of which were significantly related to symptom duration and tumor size.

Conclusions: At the early stage of NFPA before VFD and retinal thickness thinning, fundus microcirculation impairments may occur initially in the microvascular density of the RPC segment of the IT sector. The FLV and the VD of RPC at the IT sector may provide a basis for the early diagnosis of NFPA without VFD in clinical practice.