To quantitatively compare microvascular features in the macula of patients with diabetic retinopathy (DR) using fluorescein angiography (FA) and optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA).
Patients with DR were recruited from the Cairo University Hospital. FA was performed using a Topcon TRC-50DX or Heidelberg Spectralis HRA+OCT. OCTA was performed using an Optovue RTVue-XR Avanti. FA images were cropped and aligned to the corresponding OCTA images using i2k Align Retina software. The foveal avascular zone (FAZ), area of ischemia, and microaneurysms (MAs) were manually quantified using ImageJ. The fractal dimension (FD) was calculated from each skeletonized image using the FracLac plugin of ImageJ after retinal vascular segmentation.
Twenty-four eyes of 17 patients were evaluated, but only 18 eyes were successfully aligned. There was no difference in FAZ area measured for FA and OCTA images. Compared with OCTA images, FD was significantly less for FA images (1.66 ± 0.048 versus 1.72 ± 0.023, < .001). Significantly more MAs were identified on FA images (102 ± 27.5) compared with OCTA (47.5 ± 11.7, < .0001). The number of MAs on FA correlated with decreasing best corrected visual acuity (r = 0.315, = .015) and increasing central macular thickness (r = 0.492, = .001). No such associations were found with MAs detected on OCTA. Nevertheless, the area of ischemia in the FA images (8.5 ± 4.1%) was significantly smaller compared with the area measured in both the superficial (30.7 ± 9.5%) and deep capillary plexus (21.6 ± 10.9%) of the OCTA ( < .001). Interestingly, number of MAs in the FA images correlated with increasing area of ischemia in the FA (r = 0.568, < .001) but only the superficial segment of the depth-resolved OCTA scans (r = 0.539, < .001).
OCTA is a non-invasive tool capable of resolving the retinal vasculature in greater detail when compared with FA but detects significantly fewer MAs. Automatic alignment facilitates quantitative comparison of the microvascular features in DR.