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Lucie Sawides, Kaitlyn A. Sapoznik, Alberto de Castro, Brittany R. Walker, Thomas J. Gast, Ann E. Elsner, Stephen A. Burns; Alterations to the Foveal Cone Mosaic of Diabetic Patients. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2017;58(9):3395-3403. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.17-21793.
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We measured localized changes occurring in the foveal cone photoreceptors and related defects in the cone mosaic to alterations in the nearby retinal vasculature.
The central 4° of the retina of 54 diabetic (53.7 ± 12.5 years) and 85 control (35.8 ± 15.2 years) participants were imaged with the Indiana adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscope. Foveal cones and overlying retinal capillaries were imaged and infrared scanning laser ophthalmoscopy (IR SLO) images and optical coherence tomography (OCT) B-scans were obtained. Follow-up imaging sessions were performed with intervals from 4 to 50 months for 22 of the 54 diabetic participants.
The foveal cone mosaics of 49 of 54 diabetic participants were of sufficient quality to assess the absence or presence of small localized defects in the cone mosaic. In 13 of these 49 diabetic participants we found localized defects, visualized as sharp-edged areas of cones with diminished reflectivity. These small, localized areas ranged in size from 10 × 10 μm to 75 × 30 μm. Of these 13 participants with cone defects, 11 were imaged over periods from 4 to 50 months and the defects remained relatively stable. These dark regions were not shadows of overlying retinal vessels, but all participants with these localized defects had alterations in the juxtafoveal capillary network.
The foveal cone mosaic can show localized areas of dark cones that persist over time, that apparently correspond to either missing or nonreflecting cones, and may be related to local retinal ischemia.
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