Photodiagnosis Photodyn Ther. 2023 Sep 3:103777. doi: 10.1016/j.pdpdt.2023.103777. Online ahead of print.
AIM: The objective of this study is to investigate and compare the superficial and deep vascular structures of the retina, as well as the changes in the choriocapillaris (CC) and optic disc microvasculature, using optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) in patients diagnosed with diabetes mellitus (DM) without diabetic retinopathy (DR), patients with non-proliferative and proliferative DR, and healthy individuals.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: This prospective study conducted between July 2020 and July 2021 included patients diagnosed with type 2 DM without DR, as well as patients with mild nonproliferative, moderate nonproliferative, and proliferative DR without macular edema. A control group of 25 age- and gender-matched healthy individuals was also included. OCTA parameters of the patients were examined.
RESULTS: In the DR groups, compared to the control group, there was a significant decrease in macular superficial, deep, and CC perfusion areas as the severity of DR increased (p<0.001). The vascular density (VD) of the superficial capillary plexus (SCP) and deep capillary plexus (DCP) exhibited a statistically significant decrease in all quadrants of the DR group compared to the control group (p=0.033 for SCP in the fovea, p<0.001 for all other quadrants). The superficial and deep FAZs showed a significant expansion in the DR group compared to the control group (p=0.003 for superficial FAZ, p<0.001 for deep FAZ). As the severity of DR increased, there was a statistically significant decrease in the perfusion areas of the optic nerve head (ONH), radial peripapillary capillary (RPC), and vitreous segments (p<0.001 for ONH, p=0.031 for RPC, p<0.001 for vitreous). There was a statistically significant decrease in RPC VD in all quadrants as the severity of DR increased. Moreover, as the severity of DR increased, a statistically significant decrease in the VD of the ONH was observed in all quadrants except for the inferior nasal (p=0.094), inferior temporal (p=0.111), superior temporal (p=0.18), and temporal (p=0.284) quadrants.
CONCLUSION: Our study demonstrated the involvement of macular and optic nerve perfusion areas (PA) and VD in diabetic patients. OCTA proved to be a valuable and noninvasive imaging modality, providing an easy and repeatable assessment of posterior segment vascular changes in patients with DR.