Optical coherence angiography (OCT-A) technology is particularly adept at imaging the retinal vasculature. These microvascular changes to the macula and optic disc are significant in the case of patients with diabetes, according to research presented at the Association for Research and Vision in Ophthalmology’s annual meeting in Vancouver.

California-based researchers looked at the OCT-A analysis of 216 eyes of 124 patients with diabetes and an additional 94 control eyes of 67 patients. They found the diabetic eyes exhibited significant worsening of angiographic measurements of the macula and optic disc despite no significant changes in retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) and macular ganglion cell complex thickness, suggesting that OCT-A can identify structural changes earlier and on a smaller scale than other imaging technologies.

The severity of OCT-A changes also corresponded with higher levels of diabetic retinopathy and macular edema. OCT-A imaging of both the macula and the optic disc showed significantly reduced vascular diameter, vessel area density and vessel skeleton density, vessel perimeter index and vessel complex index in diabetic patients’ eyes than control eyes. The researchers also used OCT-A to measure flow impairment and found it significantly increased in diabetic patients’ eyes as compared with control eyes.

Huang L, Shariati A, Oh A, et al. A Comparison: Structural optical coherence tomography and angiography in diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema. ARVO 2019. Abstract 3026.