Impact of diabetic retinopathy on quantitative retinal nerve fiber layer measurement and glaucoma screening

Hirokazu Takahashi, Etsuo Chihara
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science 2008, 49 (2): 687-92

PURPOSE: To investigate the impact of diabetic retinopathy on quantitative retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) assessment and diagnostic power for glaucoma by scanning laser polarimetry (GDx-VCC) and optical coherence tomography (StratusOCT).

METHODS: The individual RNFL parameters of GDx and OCT were obtained for 170 eyes (one eye from each of 170 subjects [45 healthy, 47 glaucoma, 40 diabetes, and 38 glaucoma with diabetes]) and were compared among the four groups. Diabetic eyes had mild to moderate nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) without maculopathy. In glaucomatous eyes with or without diabetes, the ability to discriminate glaucoma was assessed by the areas under the receiver operating characteristic curves (AUROCs) and the sensitivities at more than 80% and 90% of specificities for each technique.

RESULTS: Using GDx-VCC, significant differences (P < 0.05) in RNFL measurement parameters were found for all comparisons except those between glaucomatous eyes with diabetes and without diabetes. StratusOCT parameters did not detect significant differences between age-matched healthy and diabetic eyes. Among the parameters included, the nerve fiber indicator (NFI) of GDx-VCC and the inferior quadrant thickness (IQT) of StratusOCT had the largest AUROCs and sensitivities at specificities greater than 80%: NFI (0.912, 86%) and IQT (0.902, 85%) in glaucomatous eyes with diabetes; NFI (0.935, 92%) and IQT (0.921, 91%) in simple glaucomatous eyes.

CONCLUSIONS: Mild to moderate NPDR causes a quantitative discrepancy in RNFL measurements between GDx-VCC and StratusOCT in simple diabetic eyes. However, mild to moderate glaucomatous optic neuropathy can be highly discriminated by the two imaging devices in eyes with diabetic retinopathy.

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