Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
May 20, 2019
2 min read

Study shows OCTA detects changes in diabetic eyes sooner than OCT

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia — OCT angiography was found to be more useful than OCT to detect changes in the eyes of patients with diabetes, according to study results presented in a poster here at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology meeting.

The authors also noted that the typical blood measurements taken in patients with diabetes do not correlate with changes in visual acuity or angiographic photos.

Lead author Laura Huang told that the researchers hope their findings “will help diagnose patients at earlier stages” so changes can be determined “before people get diabetic retinopathy.”

Huang said she and her colleagues conducted a prospective case control study involving 192 patients — 218 diabetic eyes and 95 control eyes. All subjects were between 15 and 92 years old. Those with diabetes had it for 1 to 5 years, and they ranged in age from 27 to 87 years.

“The question we wanted to answer is whether structural OCT in terms of retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) and ganglion cell complex (GCC) vs. OCT angiography could help serve as a biomarker to detect changes for diabetic patients before they develop clinically significant diabetic retinopathy,” she said.

She said they found that patients with diabetes had worse visual acuity in addition to other parameters that were distinct between the two groups and shown by OCT angiography.

“We also stratified patients according to the severity of their retinopathy, and there were some significant markers that you could monitor as the retinopathy progresses,” she said.

Structural OCT, GCC and RNFL were not significant, Huang said.

“Our conclusions are that OCT angiography is, perhaps, more useful than OCT to detect changes in diabetic patients, and hemoglobin A1c and fasting blood glucose, which are common blood measurements for these patients, also did not correlate with changes in visual acuity or any changes in the angiographic photos,” she said.

Huang also noted that the macula OCTA showed more useful or significant changes compared with disc OCTA.

Co-author Y. Joyce Liao, MD, told, “I think our study will be essential for any type of future screening method for artificial intelligence because we’ve identified some of the key features that can be tested in future algorithms in terms of diagnosing patients. Incorporating our findings will help diagnose patients in the earlier stages, maybe even before they develop diabetic retinopathy.” – by Nancy Hemphill, ELS, FAAO



Huang LC, et al. A comparison: Structural optical coherence tomography and angiography in diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema. Presented at: Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology; Vancouver, British Columbia; April 28-May 2, 2019.

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.