OCT-A is becoming increasingly essential in the diagnosis and follow-up of retinal vascular diseases, but the technology’s terminology for these conditions is in need of a more distinct classification and definition, a new study in Ophthalmology reports.

The study’s findings are based on results of a survey sent to retina “experts” and “users,” which were classified based on the number of papers each specialist had written. A retina specialist was considered an expert if they had at least five papers published on the topic.

Out of the 85 respondents, 31 were categorized as experts. Both groups agreed certain OCT-A parameters, such as foveal avascular zone, non-perfusion area and neovascularization presence, should be included in the identification and staging of diabetic retinopathy. They also came to the consensus that OCT-A can differentiate between ischemic and non-ischemic retinal vein occlusion and that diabetic macular ischemia can be assessed through OCT-A. Additionally, the two groups agreed the terminology should differ based on the underlying causes of decreased vascular flow signal.

However, the retinal specialists seemed to have a different opinion on what terms should be applied to describe decreased OCT-A signal from different causes, the definition of widefield OCT-A, how to quantify diabetic macular ischemia and the area of decreased flow signal.

Further discussion among the experts is needed to establish a standardized terminology for the use of OCT-A in retinal vascular diseases as has been done for central macular thickness and retinal volume on structural OCTs, the researchers noted.

Munk MR, Kashani AH, Tadayoni R, et al. Standardization of optical coherence tomography angiography nomenclature in retinal vascular diseases: first survey results. Ophthalmology. December 31, 2020. [Epub ahead of print].