Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography Findings after Acute Intraocular Pressure Elevation in Patients with Diabetes Mellitus versus Healthy Subjects


Purpose: To assess the changes in optic nerve head and macular microvascular networks after acute intraocular pressure (IOP) rise in healthy eyes versus the eyes of diabetic patients.

Methods: In this prospective, interventional, comparative study, 24 eyes of 24 adults including 12 eyes of healthy nondiabetic subjects and 12 eyes with mild or moderate non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) were enrolled. IOP elevation was induced by a suction cup attached to the conjunctiva. IOP and optical coherence tomography angiographic (OCTA) images of the optic disc and macula were obtained before and immediately after the IOP rise.

Results: Baseline and post-suction IOPs were not significantly different between the two groups (all Ps > 0.05). The mean IOP elevation was 13.93 ± 3.41 mmHg among all eyes and was statistically significant as compared to the baseline in both groups (both Ps < 0.05). After IOP elevation, healthy eyes demonstrated a reduction in the vessel density in the whole image deep and superficial capillary plexuses and parafoveal deep capillary plexus (DCP) (all Ps < 0.05). In diabetic retinopathy, foveal vessel density at DCP decreased significantly following IOP rise (Ps = 0.003). In both groups, inside the disc, vessel density decreased significantly after IOP rise (both Ps < 0.05), however, no significant change was observed in peripapillary vessel density (both Ps > 0.05).

Conclusion: Acute rise of IOP may induce different levels of microvascular changes in healthy and diabetic eyes. Optic disc microvasculature originating from the posterior ciliary artery may be more susceptible to IOP elevation than that of retinal microvasculature.


Diabetic Retinopathy, Glaucoma, Intraocular Pressure, Macula, Ocular Blood Flow, Ocular Perfusion, Optic Nerve, Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography, Retinal Imaging, Vessel Density

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