A new study found screening diabetes patients with optical coherence tomography angiography (OCT-A) could uncover early microvascular changes that may help clinicians intervene sooner to avoid the development of diabetic retinopathy (DR).1

Researchers at the Vanderbilt Eye Institute studied 37 eyes of 20 patients with diabetes, none of whom showed signs of DR upon clinical and dilated exam by a retina specialist. Subjects had a mean glycated hemoglobin A1c of 7.2%. After assessing vessel density, flow area and foveal avascular zone size with OCT-A, the researchers discovered 15 eyes had vascular abnormalities, or microaneurysms, and they all had significantly increased vessel density compared with eyes without microaneurysms.1

“OCTA can detect diabetic retinopathy earlier than ever before through detection of microvascular changes which are not otherwise noted on dilated clinical examination,” said Raza M. Shah, MD, in a Practice Update statement. “These preclinical findings may facilitate earlier interventions for improved glycemic control and change the ‘gold standard’ in diabetic eye examination.”2

1. Thompson IA, Durrani AK, Patel S. Optical coherence tomography angiography characteristics in diabetic patients without clinical diabetic retinopathy. Eye (Lond). December 3, 2018. [Epub ahead of print].

2. OCTA characteristics in diabetic patients without clinical diabetic retinopathy. PracticeUpdate. January 7, 2018.