The purpose of this study was to evaluate the associations between choroidal thickness (CT) and the 2-year incidence of referable diabetic retinopathy (RDR).
This was a prospective cohort study. Patients with type 2 diabetes in Guangzhou, China, aged 30 to 80 years underwent comprehensive examinations, including standard 7-field fundus photography. Macular CT was measured using a commercial swept-source optical coherence tomography (SS-OCT) device (DRI OCT Triton; Topcon, Tokyo, Japan). The relative risk (RR) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) was used to quantify the association between CT and new-onset RDR. The prognostic value of CT was assessed using the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC), net reclassification improvement (NRI), and integrated discrimination improvement (IDI).
A total of 1345 patients with diabetes were included in the study, and 120 (8.92%) of them had newly developed RDR at the 2-year follow-up. After adjusting for other factors, the increased RDR risk was associated with greater HbA1c (RR = 1.35, 95% CI = 1.17-1.55, P < 0.001), higher systolic blood pressure (SBP; RR = 1.02, 95% CI = 1.01-1.03, P = 0.005), lower triglyceride (TG) level (RR = 0.81, 95% CI = 0.69-0.96, P = 0.015), presence of diabetic retinopathy (DR; RR = 8.16, 95% CI = 4.47-14.89, P < 0.001), and thinner average CT (RR = 0.903, 95% CI = 0.871-0.935, P < 0.001). The addition of average CT improved NRI (0.464 ± 0.096, P < 0.001) and IDI (0.0321 ± 0.0068, P < 0.001) for risk of RDR, and it also improved the AUC from 0.708 (95% CI = 0.659-0.757) to 0.761 (95% CI = 0.719-0.804).
CT thinning measured by SS-OCT is an early imaging biomarker for the development of RDR, suggesting that alterations in CT play an essential role in DR occurrence.