Retinal Microvascular Signs in Pre- and Early-Stage Diabetic Retinopathy Detected Using Wide-Field Swept-Source Optical Coherence Tomographic Angiography

J Clin Med. 2022 Jul 26;11(15):4332. doi: 10.3390/jcm11154332.


Purpose Using a wide-field, high-resolution swept-source optical coherence tomographic angiography (OCTA), this study investigated microvascular abnormalities in patients with pre- and early-stage diabetic retinopathy. Methods 38 eyes of 20 people with diabetes mellitus (DM) type 2 without diabetic retinopathy (DR) and 39 eyes of 21 people with DR were enrolled in this observational and cross-sectional cohort study, and a refractive error-matched group consisting of 42 eyes of 21 non-diabetic subjects of similar age were set as the control. Each participant underwent a wide-field swept-source OCTA. On OCTA scans (1.2 × 1.2 cm), the mean central macular thickness (CMT), the vessel density of the inner retina, superficial capillary plexus (SCP), and deep capillary plexus (DCP) were independently measured in the whole area (1.2 cm diameter) via concentric rings with varying radii (0-0.3, 0.3-0.6, 0.6-0.9, and 0.9-1.2 cm). Results Patients whose eyes had pre-and early-stage DR showed significantly decreased vessel density in the inner retina, SCP, DCP and CMT (early-stage DR) compared with the control. In addition, compared with the average values upon wide-field OCTA, the decreases were even more pronounced for concentric rings with a radius of 0.9-1.2 cm in terms of the inner retina, SCP, DCP and CMT. Conclusions Widefield OCTA allows for a more thorough assessment of retinal changes in patients with pre- and early-stage DR.; retinal microvascular abnormalities were observed in both groups. In addition, the decreases in retinal vessel density were more significant in the peripheral concentric ring with a radius of 0.9-1.2 cm. The application of novel and wide-field OCTA could potentially help to detect earlier diabetic microvascular abnormalities.

Keywords: diabetes mellitus; diabetic retinopathy; retinal vascular changes; wide-field optical coherence tomographic angiography.

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.