Saturday , November 18 2017
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Correlation Found Between Loss of Blood Flow, Retinal Damage in Diabetes

A research report was published this week in Ophthalmology and evaluated a newer form of technology called ultra-wide-field (UWF) imaging by examining the eyes of 37 diabetes patients with varying levels of retinopathy. The new UWF technology can view more than 80 percent of the retina in one image, whereas older imaging technology combines seven different photos to view one-third of the retina.

Patients are injected with a fluorescent dye and areas with decreased blood flow can be identified readily. This new technology makes it easier to more readily and accurately assess how the blood flow relates to retinopathy progression.

Not surprisingly, the areas of decreased retinal perfusion via angiography matched up closely with the areas where peripheral lesions were visualized. These findings could be useful for predicting the diabetic retinopathy progression over time.

Given the association between blood flow and peripheral lesions, the researchers think it may be possible to avoid having to use fluorescent UWF angiography for some patients.

This technology may change the current grading system for diabetic eye disease and incorporate imaging technology into diagnosis of disease progression. Even more progressing is the potential drugs that could target retinal blood flow such as vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGFs).

These researchers anticipate using future technology to evaluate retinopathy progress and oxygen levels in retinal blood via wavelength of light. For now, it remains important to continue referring diabetes patients to ophthalmologists for evaluation.

Practice Pearls:

  • New ultra-wide-field technology gives ophthalmologists the opportunity to view 80% of the retina, whereas older technology was only capable of viewing 33%.
  • By viewing the eyes of 37 diabetes patients, researchers were able to find a correlated between visualized peripheral lesions via UWF and retinal blood flow measured by UWF angiography and fluorescent dye.
  • The future of diabetic retinopathy research seems positive with further technology evaluating oxygen levels in retinal blood flow and potential upcoming changes in the grading system for diabetic eye disease.

Silva, Paolo S., Amanda J. Dela Cruz, Miguel G. Ledesma et al. “Diabetic Retinopathy Severity and Peripheral Lesions Are Associated with Nonperfusion on Ultrawide Field Angiography.” Ophthalmology. Web. 18 Sept. 2015. .