Multimodal Imaging Assessment of Vascular and Neurodegenerative Retinal Alterations in Type 1 Diabetic Patients without Fundoscopic Signs of Diabetic Retinopathy

Riccardo Sacconi, Marco Casaluci, Enrico Borrelli, Giacomo Mulinacci, Francesca Lamanna, Francesco Gelormini, Adriano Carnevali, Lea Querques, Gianpaolo Zerbini, Francesco Bandello, Giuseppe Querques

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The aim of this cross-sectional case-control study is to investigate the possible presence of vascular/neurodegenerative alterations in the retina of type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) patients without diabetic retinopathy (DR). Thirty-four eyes of 34 consecutive T1DM without DR (mean age 21 ± 2 years) were included. Another cohort of 27 eyes (27 healthy control subjects matched with age and sex) was also recruited. All patients underwent multimodal imaging evaluation using structural optical coherence tomography (OCT), OCT-angiography (OCT-A), dynamic vessel analyzer (DVA) and microperimetry. No significant differences were disclosed comparing diabetics and controls for visual acuity, central macular thickness, and subfoveal choroidal thickness. On retinal nerve fiber layer and ganglion cell complex thickness, no significant differences were disclosed comparing each 3-mm-diameter macular and peripapillary subfield between two groups. Using OCT-A, deep capillary plexus perfusion density (PD) of diabetics was significantly lower compared to control group, whereas PD of other retinal/choriocapillaris plexuses and foveal avascular zone area did not show any significant difference. Using DVA, diabetic eyes revealed a significantly decreased vessel response to flicker light in comparison to controls. No differences were disclosed using microperimetry analysis. Taken together, these results suggest that vascular alterations could be the first detectable retinal change in the development of DR.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 8 2019


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