Dilated retinal large vessels and capillaries associated with diabetic macular edema and photoreceptor loss respectively.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Previously, we measured retinal large vessels and capillaries separately on optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA). In the present study, we aim to evaluate the role of these parameters in association to diabetic macular edema (DME) and ellipsoid zone disruption (EZD).


In this cross-sectional study, 54 eyes from 31 patients (10 females, 31 Asians) with severe non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (25 eyes) or proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR, 29 eyes) were enrolled. All eyes underwent 3 × 3 mm OCTA scans centered on the fovea. Perfusion density (PD), vessel length density (VLD), and vessel diameter index (VDI) were calculated for retinal large vessels and superficial capillaries separately. Other OCTA findings included suspended scattering particles in motion (SSPiM), number of microaneurysms (MA) in all retinal layers, and the area of foveal avascular zone (FAZ) of superficial capillary plexus. DME and EZD were evaluated on B-scans. Both univariate and multivariate analysis were performed.


Of the 54 study eyes, 31 (57%) had DME and 21 (40%) had EZD. Multivariate regression model showed that PDR (β = 27.8, 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.7-282.8, p = 0.005), more MA (β = 2.5, 95% CI: 1.3-4.5, p = 0.003), and increased VDI of larger vessels (β = 1.9, 95% CI: 1.0-3.5, p = 0.047) were risk factors for DME. As for EZD, presence of SSPiM (β = 5.5, 95% CI: 1.2-26.1, p = 0.032) and increased VDI of capillaries (β = 3.9, 95% CI: 1.1-13.8, p = 0.034) were risk factors.


In eyes with diabetic retinopathy, dilation of retinal larger vessels was associated with macular edema, while dilation of retinal capillaries was associated with ellipsoid zone disruption.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Lei, J; Xu, X; Chen, L; Fan, X; Abdelfattah, NS

Published Date

  • July 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 259 / 7

Start / End Page

  • 1831 - 1837

PubMed ID

  • 33417093

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1435-702X

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0721-832X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s00417-020-05039-2


  • eng