BALTIMORE — Patients with Stargardt disease had a lower vessel density in the deep retina, according to a study presented at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology annual meeting. This suggests there is a significant decrease in the vascular layers after damage to the photoreceptors and retinal pigment epithelium.
“Previous studies have found that choroidal retinal atrophy and a loss of the choroidal vascular to be a factor in Stargardt, and since OCT is a new modality, which can see the deep layers of the retina and choroid and measure the vascular density ... we thought to see whether it could serve as a useful marker in Stargardt,” Mustafa Iftikhar, MD, from the Quantum Vision Reading Center, Johns Hopkins University Wilmer Eye Institute, told Healio.com/OSN.
Researchers used OCT angiography in a prospective cross-sectional study to compare macular vessel density in the choroid, deep retina, outer retina and superficial retina in 15 eyes of eight normal subjects and 25 eyes of 13 patients with Stargardt disease.
The healthy controls had a mean macular vessel density of 45% in the choroid, 36% in the deep retina, 20% in the outer retina and 28% in the superficial retina.
In the deep retina, patients with Stargardt had a much lower macular vessel density than controls, even after adjusting for age and race.
The vascular density variation may be associated with progression or prognosis, according to the study. – by Abigail Sutton
Shah SM, et al. OCT-A imaging of vessel density in Stargardt disease. Presented at: Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology annual meeting; May 7-11, 2017; Baltimore.
Disclosure: Shah and Iftikhar report no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.