Exploring the relationship between collaterals and vessel density in retinal vein occlusions using optical coherence tomography angiography

Hee Eun Lee, Yiyang Wang, Alaa E. Fayed, Amani A. Fawzi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Purpose To characterize the types of collaterals in eyes with retinal vein occlusion (RVO) and further investigate their correlations with vessel densities of the superficial (SCP) and the deep capillary plexus (DCP) using optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA). Methods This cross-sectional study included 25 eyes of 23 patients with RVO. 3 x 3 mm2 OCTA macular scans were used to quantify the parafoveal vessel density (VD) of the SCP and DCP, and to classify the collaterals into one of four types (true superficial, true deep, superficial diving, and foveal collateral). Generalized estimating equation (GEE) regression analysis was performed to identify significant associations between parafoveal VD and collaterals. We further compared parafoveal VD between subgroups classified by the presence of specific collateral types based on the results of a clustering algorithm. Results 16 of 25 eyes (64%) developed collaterals. Of the 43 collateral vessels analyzed, 12/19 (63%) true superficial collaterals developed in eyes with central RVO, while all 10 superficial diving collaterals (100%) developed in eyes with branch RVO. Located exclusively in the SCP, true superficial collaterals were all arteriovenous (A-V), while diving collaterals were all veno-venular (V-V). We found a significant negative correlation between SCP VD and the total number of collaterals (P < 0.001) for the entire study cohort. Furthermore, BRVO eyes that developed superficial diving collaterals and CRVO eyes that developed true superficial collaterals demonstrated significantly lower SCP VD (P-value = 0.014) and DCP VD (P-value = 0.030), respectively, as compared to the eyes without collaterals in the respective RVO group. Conclusion Our data shows that decreased capillary perfusion in RVO is associated with the development of collaterals, while the RVO type largely dictates the type of collateral that ultimately develops.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0215790
JournalPloS one
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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