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Matt Trinh, Michael Kalloniatis, Lisa Nivison-Smith; Vascular Changes in Intermediate Age-Related Macular Degeneration Quantified Using Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2019;8(4):20. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.8.4.20.
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To examine changes in retinal vasculature and ganglion cell layer (GCL) thickness in intermediate age-related macular degeneration (AMD) using optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA).
Zeiss Cirrus Angioplex OCTA 6 × 6 mm scans and a macula 512 × 128 cube scans of the central retina were taken of 63 eyes with intermediate AMD and 51 control eyes. For OCTA scans, the superficial and deep capillary plexus were automatically segmented and vascular density quantified as total number of pixels contributing to the blood flow signal detectable by OCTA. Images were then skeletonized and vessel length, diameter index, morphology, and branching complexity determined. Foveal avascular zone (FAZ) characteristics and GCL thickness were extracted from in-built Angioplex software.
Vascular density was significantly reduced in the superficial capillary plexus of AMD eyes compared with normal eyes, particularly in the superior quadrant (42.4% ± 1.6% vs. 43.2% ± 1.4%; P < 0.05). A nonsignificant reduction was also seen in the deep capillary plexus (P = 0.06). Total vessel length and average vessel diameter were all significantly decreased in AMD eyes suggesting density changes were related to decreased vessel number and caliber. Vascular complexity and number of branch points was significantly decreased in the deep capillary plexus (P < 0.05) suggesting loss or significantly reduced flow of vessels. Average GCL thickness was also significantly reduced in the AMD eyes (P < 0.05). No significant changes in FAZ parameters were observed in AMD eyes.
This study suggests intermediate AMD affects both the quantity and morphology of inner retinal vasculature and may be associated with changes in inner retinal structure. This work builds upon the notion that AMD pathogenesis may extends beyond the outer retina.
Better understanding of retinal vascular changes in AMD can provide insights in the development of treatment and prevention protocols for these diseases.
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