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Yantao Wei, Hong Jiang, Yingying Shi, Dongyi Qu, Giovanni Gregori, Fang Zheng, Tatjana Rundek, Jianhua Wang; Age-Related Alterations in the Retinal Microvasculature, Microcirculation, and Microstructure. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2017;58(9):3804-3817. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.17-21460.
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To characterize age-related alterations in the retinal microcirculation, microvascular network, and microstructure in healthy subjects.
Seventy-four healthy subjects aged from 18 to 82 years were recruited and divided into four age groups (G1 with age <35 years, G2 with age 35 ∼ 49 years, G3 with age 50 ∼ 64 years, and G4 with age ≥65 years). Custom ultra-high resolution optical coherence tomography (UHR-OCT) was used to acquire six intraretinal layers of the macula. OCT angiography (OCTA) was used to image the retinal microvascular network. The retinal blood flow velocity (BFV) was measured using a Retinal Function Imager (RFI).
Compared to G1, G2 had significant thinning of the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) (P < 0.05), while G3 had thinning of the RNFL and ganglion cell and inner plexiform layer (GCIPL) (P < 0.05), in addition to thickening of the outer plexiform layer (OPL) and photoreceptor layer (PR) (P < 0.05). G4 had loss in retinal vessel density, thinning in RNFL and GCIPL, and decrease in venular BFV, in addition to thickening of the OPL and PR (P < 0.05). Age was negatively related to retinal vessel densities, the inner retinal layers, and venular BFV (P < 0.05). By contrast, age was positively related to OPL and PR (P < 0.05).
During aging, decreases in retinal vessel density, inner retinal layer thickness, and venular BFV were evident and impacted each other as observed by simultaneous changes in multiple retinal components.
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