BACKGROUND: Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) represents a retinal dystrophy with an extremely complex pathogenesis further worsened by the impairment of the retinal vascular supply. The main goal of this study was to identify different vascular patterns in RP, by means of optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA).
METHODS: A total of 32 RP patients (16 males, 50%; mean age 45.93 ± 11.4) and 32 healthy age-matched controls (16 males, 50%; age 42.8 ± 11.2). High resolution OCT and OCTA images were obtained from all participants. Several quantitative parameters were extracted both from structural OCT and OCTA images. A post-hoc analysis assessed the relationship between the quantitative OCTA parameters adopted and the following measures: best corrected visual acuity (BCVA), central macular thickness (CMT) and retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL).
RESULTS: Mean LogMAR BCVA was 0.24 ± 0.32 for RP patients and 0.0 ± 0.0 for controls (p < 0.01). CMT, choroidal thickness and RNFL were statistically different between RP and controls (p < 0.01). OCTA parameters showed strong alterations of the retinal vascular network in RP (all p < 0.01). Several statistically significant correlations were also found. Furthermore, a vessel tortuosity cut-off of 4.80 and a vessel rarefaction cut-off of 0.62 enabled the RP cohort to be divided into two significantly different sub-groups in terms of BCVA, RNFL and CMT.
CONCLUSIONS: Quantitative OCTA parameters help identify vascular abnormalities in RP, separating two different vascular patterns.