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Przemysław Zabel, Jakub J. Kaluzny, Monika Wilkosc-Debczynska, Martyna Gebska-Toloczko, Karolina Suwala, Katarzyna Zabel, Agata Zaron, Robert Kucharski, Aleksander Araszkiewicz; Comparison of Retinal Microvasculature in Patients With Alzheimer's Disease and Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma by Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2019;60(10):3447-3455. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.19-27028.
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Comparison of retinal microvasculature within the macula and the optic nerve head in the eyes of patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD), primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), and in a healthy control (HC) group, using optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA).
In this cross-sectional study, 27 patients with AD, 27 with POAG, and 27 healthy controls were enrolled. The Mini-Mental State Examination test was used to assess cognitive function. Ophthalmic examination included OCTA, which was used for the imaging of vascular flow within the layer of radial peripapillary capillaries (RPCs), and also in the superficial vascular plexus (SVP) and deep vascular plexus (DVP) of the retina.
In the AD group, the density of vessels in DVP was significantly reduced and the foveal avascular zone was increased when compared to POAG and HC groups (P < 0.001). Patients with POAG had a significantly reduced vessel density in RPCs and SVP as compared to AD and HC groups (P < 0.001). The average thickness of peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer was correlated with the vessel density in SVP in patients with POAG (Pearson's r = 0.66; P = 0.0002) and was significantly lower in POAG and AD groups than in the HC group (P < 0.001).
AD and POAG are neurodegenerative diseases associated with apoptosis of nerve cells and impairment of microvasculature. Despite the fact that in both diseases there are abnormalities of the entire retinal vascular system, significant microcirculatory impairment in POAG patients affects superficial vessels, whereas in AD patients it affects vessels located in the deeper retinal layers.
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