Diabetic Macular Edema May Result in Lower Retinal Blood Flow

HealthDay News — Total retinal blood flow is significantly lower in eyes of patients with diabetic macular edema (DME), according to a study published online in JAMA Ophthalmology.

ByungKun Lee, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study involving 41 eyes with diabetic retinopathy (DR) from 31 patients with diabetes, 20 eyes without DR from 11 patients with diabetes, and 16 eyes from 12 healthy age-matched controls. The authors examined total retinal blood flow using en face Doppler optical coherence tomography (OCT) raster scans.

The researchers found that the mean total retinal blood flow was 28.0, 48.8, and 40.1 µL/min in the eyes with DME, in the eyes with DR without DME, and in age-matched healthy eyes, respectively. There was no difference in total retinal blood flow for eyes with DME that were treated and eyes with DME that were not treated. Regardless of DR severity, the total retinal blood flow was consistently low in eyes with DME. The range of total retinal blood flow varied from 31.1 to 75.0 µL/min in eyes with moderate non-proliferative DR but without DME.

“High-speed en face Doppler OCT can measure total retinal blood flow in healthy and diabetic eyes,” the authors write. “Further longitudinal studies of total retinal blood flow in eyes with DR would be helpful to determine whether reduced total retinal blood flow is a risk factor for DME.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical and medical technology industries.

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Lee BK, Novais EA, Waheed NK, et al. En face doppler optical coherence tomography measurement of total retinal blood flow in diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema [published online February 9, 2017]. JAMA Ophthalmol. doi: 10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2016.5774