Purpose: This study evaluated the macular microvascular changes in eyes with proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) following panretinal photocoagulation (PRP). Design: Using optical coherence tomographic angiography (OCTA), we prospectively studied 10 eyes of 10 subjects with high-risk PDR immediately before, at 1 month, and at 3-6 months following PRP, using a 3- × 3-mm OCTA scan at each visit. Methods: The following parameters were calculated for the superficial (SCP), middle (MCP), and deep capillary plexuses (DCP): parafoveal vessel density (VD), adjusted flow index (AFI), and percent area of nonperfusion (PAN). Parafoveal SCP vessel-length density (VLD) was also evaluated. We performed univariate and multivariable statistics, adjusting for age and signal strength. To model the hemodynamic effect of PRP, we also present a mathematical model based on electrical circuits. Results: We found no significant difference for the vascular density parameters following PRP, except for decreased density at the MCP at the latest timepoint in the adjusted multivariable model. PAN, a metric of nonperfusion adjusted for noise, and AFI, a surrogate metric of blood flow, showed significant increases at all capillary levels in the adjusted model. Our mathematical model explained how PRP would increase macular blood flow. Conclusions: Using OCTA, we found an overall increase in the flow metrics of all capillary layers in the macula following PRP, unrelated to macular edema or thickening, in line with the mathematical model. Our results suggest an overall redistribution of blood flow to the posterior pole following PRP, adding a new dimension to our understanding of the complex biologic effects of PRP in PDR.
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