Correlation of retinal vascular perfusion density with dark adaptation in diabetic retinopathy

  • Chia-Chieh Hsiao
  • Hsueh-Min Hsu
  • Chung-May Yang
  • Chang-Hao YangEmail author
Retinal Disorders



To evaluate the anatomic versus functional changes in diabetic retinopathy (DR) by studying the correlation of retinal vascular perfusion density and dark adaptation (DA).


Optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) and DA tests were performed in diabetic patients and nondiabetic controls. DA was measured using AdaptDx dark adaptometer and the rod intercept was recorded. Macular OCTA images were acquired using the RTVue XR Avanti with AngioVue.


Eighty-six eyes from 57 patients with diabetes (19 with no DR, 19 with non-proliferative DR [NPDR], and 19 with proliferative DR [PDR] who had undergone photocoagulation) and 10 eyes from 10 patients without diabetes were recruited. A significant decrease in vascular density and a prolonged rod intercept were found as DR progressed (P < .01). A negative trend was found between vascular density and the rod intercept. The negative trend in the deep layer (R2 = 0.28) was more substantial than that in the superficial layer (R2 = 0.14). A prolonged rod intercept was associated with elevated HbA1c (R2 = 0.08).


The vascular density of the macula could be assessed by OCTA and the functional change in the outer retina could be measured non-invasively by DA. The severity of decreasing vascular density and prolongation of DA are proportional to progression of DR. Decreased deep retinal vascular perfusion density and impaired DA response are correlated and show a negative trend according to the severity of DR.


Retinal vascular perfusion density Optical coherence tomography angiography Dark adaptation Diabetic retinopathy Correlation 



This study is supported by the joint funding of the National Taiwan University Hospital and SynCoreBio.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was waived due to the retrospective nature of this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of OphthalmologyNational Taiwan University HospitalTaipei CityTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of OphthalmologyNational Taiwan University College of MedicineTaipei CityTaiwan

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