Optical coherence tomography angiography in diabetic retinopathy

Nadia K. Waheed*, Richard B. Rosen, Yali Jia, Marion R. Munk, David Huang, Amani Fawzi, Victor Chong, Quan Dong Nguyen, Yasir Sepah, Elizabeth Pearce

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


There remain many unanswered questions on how to assess and treat the pathology and complications that arise from diabetic retinopathy (DR). Optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) is a novel and non-invasive three-dimensional imaging method that can visualize capillaries in all retinal layers. Numerous studies have confirmed that OCTA can identify early evidence of microvascular changes and provide quantitative assessment of the extent of diseases such as DR and its complications. A number of informative OCTA metrics could be used to assess DR in clinical trials, including measurements of the foveal avascular zone (FAZ; area, acircularity, 3D para-FAZ vessel density), vessel density, extrafoveal avascular zones, and neovascularization. Assessing patients with DR using a full-retinal slab OCTA image can limit segmentation errors and confounding factors such as those related to center-involved diabetic macular edema. Given emerging data suggesting the importance of the peripheral retinal vasculature in assessing and predicting DR progression, wide-field OCTA imaging should also be used. Finally, the use of automated methods and algorithms for OCTA image analysis, such as those that can distinguish between areas of true and false signals, reconstruct images, and produce quantitative metrics, such as FAZ area, will greatly improve the efficiency and standardization of results between studies. Most importantly, clinical trial protocols should account for the relatively high frequency of poor-quality data related to sub-optimal imaging conditions in DR and should incorporate time for assessing OCTA image quality and re-imaging patients where necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101206
JournalProgress in Retinal and Eye Research
StatePublished - Nov 2023


  • Diabetic macular edema
  • Diabetic macular ischemia
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Optical coherence tomography
  • Optical coherence tomography angiography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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