The purpose of this study was to determine systemic stressors, including fasting plasma glucose (FPG), and other major atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk factors of the retinal microvasculature in people without diabetes.
The Kailuan Eye Study enrolled applicants from the community-based longitudinal Kailuan Study. Applicants underwent optical coherence tomographic angiography (OCTA) and systemic examinations. Both the macula and optic disc were screened, whereas superficial capillary plexus (SCP), deep capillary plexus (DCP), foveal vessel density in the 300 µm ring (FD-300), and radial peripapillary capillaries (RPCs) density were measured in the study.
This study included 353 eligible applicants (mean age = 49.86 ± 11.41 years; 47% men; FPG =5.32 ± 1.19 mmol/L). Lower DCP density was associated with elder age (P = 0.001), male gender (P < 0.001), and higher FPG (P = 0.008). Male gender (P < 0.001), axial length (P < 0.001), and FPG (P = 0.029) were inversely associated with RPC density. Meanwhile, a higher FPG concentration was significantly correlated with lower DCP density (P = 0.006) and higher intraocular pressure (P = 0.006), after adjusting mean arterial blood pressure (P = 0.001) and sex (P = 0.042).
DCP density showed a significantly negative correlation with FPG concentration in people without diabetes. These data suggest hyperglycemia could cause early retinal capillary alterations in patients without clinical signs of retinopathy and indicate the potential clinical applications of routine OCTA may be beneficial to screen for subclinical microvasculature and monitor patients with high risks of ASCVD.