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Spectral-domain optical coherence tomography assessment of retinal and choroidal changes in patients with coronavirus disease 2019: a case-control study

J Ophthalmic Inflamm Infect. 2022 Jun 18;12(1):18. doi: 10.1186/s12348-022-00297-z.


OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to evaluate the retinal and choroidal changes in the macular region of patients with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) using structural spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) analysis.

METHODS: This cross-sectional observational case-control study included patients recovered from COVID-19. The COVID-19 in all participants was confirmed using the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) technique. The participants had mild to moderate degree of disease without a history of hospitalization, steroid usage, or blood saturation below 92%. Macular SD-OCT was performed at least two weeks and up to one month after recovery from systemic COVID-19. Quantitative and qualitative changes detected by macular SD-OCT imaging were evaluated in COVID-19 recovered patients and compared with the results of age-matched normal controls.

RESULTS: Participants in this study included 30 cases (60 eyes) and 60 healthy controls (120 eyes). In total, 17 (28.3%) eyes in patient group showed at least one abnormal finding indicated by macular SD-OCT imaging included hyperreflective lesions in different retinal layers. In addition, dilated choroidal vessels and retinal pigment epitheliopathy were evident in 41 (68.3.6%) and 4 (6.6%) eyes in patient group, respectively, and their OCT findings resembled those with pachychoroid spectrum. No statistically significant differences were observed in retinal layers or retinal volume between the two groups. The mean ± SD subfoveal choroidal thickness (SFCT) was determined at 380.3 ± 12.40 μm, which was significantly thicker than that in control group (310.7 ± 57.5 μm) (P < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: Regarding retinal thickness, no significant change was observed in different retina layers of patients with COVID-19; however, there were striking qualitative changes, such as hyperreflective lesions in different retinal layers. The evaluation of choroidal structure and thickness demonstrated remarkable abnormal pachyvessels and significant thickening of the SFCT but the clinical significance of these findings is unknown.

PMID:35716213 | DOI:10.1186/s12348-022-00297-z

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