Diabetic Eye Disease

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AbdelAl O, Ashraf M, Sampani K, Sun JK. "For Mass Eye and Ear Special Issue" Adaptive Optics in the Evaluation of Diabetic Retinopathy. Semin Ophthalmol 2019;:1-9.Abstract
Retinal imaging is a fundamental tool for clinical and research efforts in the evaluation and management of diabetic retinopathy. Adaptive optics (AO) is an imaging technique that enables correction of over 90% of the optical aberrations of an individual eye induced primarily by the tear film, cornea and lens. The two major tasks of any AO system are to measure the optical imperfections of the eye and to then compensate for these aberrations to generate a corrected wavefront of reflected light from the eye. AO scanning laser ophthalmoscopy (AOSLO) provides a theoretical lateral resolution limit of 1.4 μm, allowing the study of microscopic features of the retinal vascular and neural tissue. AOSLO studies have revealed irregularities of the photoreceptor mosaic, vascular loss, and details of vascular lesions in diabetic eyes that may provide new insight into development, regression, and response to therapy of diabetic eye disease.
Aiello LP, Ayala AR, Antoszyk AN, Arnold-Bush B, Baker C, Bressler NM, Elman MJ, Glassman AR, Jampol LM, Melia M, Nielsen J, Wolpert HA, Wolpert HA. Assessing the Effect of Personalized Diabetes Risk Assessments During Ophthalmologic Visits on Glycemic Control: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Ophthalmol 2015;133(8):888-96.Abstract

IMPORTANCE: Optimization of glycemic control is critical to reduce the number of diabetes mellitus-related complications, but long-term success is challenging. Although vision loss is among the greatest fears of individuals with diabetes, comprehensive personalized diabetes education and risk assessments are not consistently used in ophthalmologic settings. OBJECTIVE: To determine whether the point-of-care measurement of hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) and personalized diabetes risk assessments performed during retinal ophthalmologic visits improve glycemic control as assessed by HbA1c level. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Ophthalmologist office-based randomized, multicenter clinical trial in which investigators from 42 sites were randomly assigned to provide either a study-prescribed augmented diabetes assessment and education or the usual care. Adults with type 1 or 2 diabetes enrolled into 2 cohorts: those with a more-frequent-than-annual follow-up (502 control participants and 488 intervention participants) and those with an annual follow-up (368 control participants and 388 intervention participants). Enrollment was from April 2011 through January 2013. INTERVENTIONS: Point-of-care measurements of HbA1c, blood pressure, and retinopathy severity; an individualized estimate of the risk of retinopathy progression derived from the findings from ophthalmologic visits; structured comparison and review of past and current clinical findings; and structured education with immediate assessment and feedback regarding participant's understanding. These interventions were performed at enrollment and at routine ophthalmic follow-up visits scheduled at least 12 weeks apart. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Mean change in HbA1c level from baseline to 1-year follow-up. Secondary outcomes included body mass index, blood pressure, and responses to diabetes self-management practices and attitudes surveys. RESULTS: In the cohort with more-frequent-than-annual follow-ups, the mean (SD) change in HbA1c level at 1 year was -0.1% (1.5%) in the control group and -0.3% (1.4%) in the intervention group (adjusted mean difference, -0.09% [95% CI, -0.29% to 0.12%]; P = .35). In the cohort with annual follow-ups, the mean (SD) change in HbA1c level was 0.0% (1.1%) in the control group and -0.1% (1.6%) in the intervention group (mean difference, -0.05% [95% CI, -0.27% to 0.18%]; P = .63). Results were similar for all secondary outcomes. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Long-term optimization of glycemic control is not achieved by a majority of individuals with diabetes. The addition of personalized education and risk assessment during retinal ophthalmologic visits did not result in a reduction in HbA1c level compared with usual care over 1 year. These data suggest that optimizing glycemic control remains a substantive challenge requiring interventional paradigms other than those examined in our study. TRIAL REGISTRATION: clinicaltrials.gov Identifier:NCT01323348.

Aiello LP, Odia I, Glassman AR, Melia M, Jampol LM, Bressler NM, Kiss S, Silva PS, Wykoff CC, Sun JK, Sun JK. Comparison of Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study Standard 7-Field Imaging With Ultrawide-Field Imaging for Determining Severity of Diabetic Retinopathy. JAMA Ophthalmol 2018;Abstract
Importance: Moderate to substantial agreement between Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) 7-field imaging and ultrawide-field (UWF) imaging has been suggested in single-center studies. Comparing images obtained by multiple centers could increase confidence that UWF images can be used reliably in place of ETDRS imaging in future clinical trials. Objective: To compare diabetic retinopathy (DR) severity from modified ETDRS 7-field imaging and UWF imaging. Design, Setting, and Participants: This preplanned, cross-sectional analysis included modified ETDRS 7-field images obtained using the Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network acquisition protocol and UWF images obtained captured with the Optos 200Tx system (Optos, PLC) from adult participants (≥18 years old) with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Both image types were evaluated by trained graders masked to clinical data. Data collection occurred from February 2015 to December 2015, and data analysis from June 2016 to December 2017. Main Outcomes and Measures: Agreement between UWF images, UWF imagesmasked to include only the ETDRS 7-field area, and ETDRS 7-field images were calculated using κ statistics. Results: A total of 764 eyes from 385 participants were included; participants had a median (IQR) age of 62.2 (53.6-69.2) years, 194 (50.4%) were women, and 256 (66.5%) were white. Of 742 eyes with both ETDRS 7-field images and UWF masked images graded, 359 (48.4% [95% CI, 44.4%-52.4%]) eyes had exact agreement, and 653 eyes (88.0% [95% CI, 85.2%-90.3%]) agreed within 1 step (weighted κ, 0.51 [95% CI, 0.44-0.58]). After open adjudication by an independent senior grader of all images with more than a 2-step discrepancy, perfect agreement was found in 435 eyes (59.0% [95% CI, 55.1%-62.8%]) and agreement within 1 step in 714 eyes (96.9% [95% CI, 95.1%-98.0%]; κ, 0.77 [95% CI, 0.73-0.82]). Ability of the imaging modalities to detect retinopathy severity in an individual eye was considered similar in 59 eyes (50.9% [95% CI, 41.3%-60.4%]), better for ETDRS 7-field imaging in 22 eyes (19.0% [95% CI, 12.5%-27.7%]), and better for UWF-masked images in 31 eyes (26.7% [95% CI 18.8%-36.5%]). Comparing UWF masked and unmasked images, 94 of 751 eyes (12.5%) had DR graded as at least 1 step more severe on UWF unmasked images vs UWF masked images. Predominantly peripheral DR lesions were present in 308 of 751 eyes (41.0%); this suggested increased DR severity by 2 or more steps in 34 eyes (11.0%). Conclusions and Relevance: Imaging by the ETDRS 7-field and UWF imaging systems have moderate to substantial agreement when determining the severity of DR within the 7 standard fields. Disparities in an individual eye are equivalently distributed between imaging modalities and can be better or worse on 1 or the other. Longitudinal follow-up will evaluate the primary outcome of this study to determine if peripheral retinal findings are associated with future retinopathy outcomes.
Aiello LP, Cavallerano J, Sun J, Salti N, Nasrallah M, Mehanna CJ, El Salloukh NA, Salti HI. Long-Term Effect on HbA1c in Poorly Controlled Diabetic Patients Following Nonmydriatic Retinal Image Review at the Time of Endocrinology Visit. Telemed J E Health 2020;26(10):1265-1270.Abstract
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Al-Latayfeh M, Silva PS, Sun JK, Aiello LP. Antiangiogenic therapy for ischemic retinopathies. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med 2012;2(6):a006411.Abstract
Neovascularization is a common pathological process in various retinal vascular disorders including diabetic retinopathy (DR), age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and retinal vein occlusion (RVO). The development of neovascular vessels may lead to complications such as vitreous hemorrhage, fibrovascular tissue formation, and traction retinal detachments. Ultimately, irreversible vision loss may result. Various proangiogenic factors are involved in these complex processes. Different antiangiogenic drugs have been formulated in an attempt treat these vascular disorders. One factor that plays a major role in the development of retinal neovascularization is vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Anti-VEGF agents are currently FDA approved for the treatment of AMD and RVO. They are also extensively used as an off-label treatment for diabetic macular edema (DME), proliferative DR, and neovascular glaucoma. However, at this time, the long-term safety of chronic VEGF inhibition has not been extensively evaluated. A large and rapidly expanding body of research on angiogenesis is being conducted at multiple centers across the globe to determine the exact contributions and interactions among a variety of angiogenic factors in an effort to determine the therapeutic potential of antiangiogenic agent in the treatment of a variety of retinal diseases.
Antonetti DA, Silva PS, Stitt AW. Current understanding of the molecular and cellular pathology of diabetic retinopathy. Nat Rev Endocrinol 2021;17(4):195-206.Abstract
Diabetes mellitus has profound effects on multiple organ systems; however, the loss of vision caused by diabetic retinopathy might be one of the most impactful in a patient's life. The retina is a highly metabolically active tissue that requires a complex interaction of cells, spanning light sensing photoreceptors to neurons that transfer the electrochemical signal to the brain with support by glia and vascular tissue. Neuronal function depends on a complex inter-dependency of retinal cells that includes the formation of a blood-retinal barrier. This dynamic system is negatively affected by diabetes mellitus, which alters normal cell-cell interactions and leads to profound vascular abnormalities, loss of the blood-retinal barrier and impaired neuronal function. Understanding the normal cell signalling interactions and how they are altered by diabetes mellitus has already led to novel therapies that have improved visual outcomes in many patients. Research highlighted in this Review has led to a new understanding of retinal pathophysiology during diabetes mellitus and has uncovered potential new therapeutic avenues to treat this debilitating disease.
Antoszyk AN, Glassman AR, Beaulieu WT, Jampol LM, Jhaveri CD, Punjabi OS, Salehi-Had H, Wells JA, Maguire MG, Stockdale CR, Martin DF, Sun JK, Sun JK. Effect of Intravitreous Aflibercept vs Vitrectomy With Panretinal Photocoagulation on Visual Acuity in Patients With Vitreous Hemorrhage From Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA 2020;324(23):2383-2395.Abstract
Importance: Vitreous hemorrhage from proliferative diabetic retinopathy can cause loss of vision. The best management approach is unknown. Objective: To compare initial treatment with intravitreous aflibercept vs vitrectomy with panretinal photocoagulation for vitreous hemorrhage from proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Design, Setting, and Participants: Randomized clinical trial at 39 DRCR Retina Network sites in the US and Canada including 205 adults with vison loss due to vitreous hemorrhage from proliferative diabetic retinopathy who were enrolled from November 2016 to December 2017. The final follow-up visit was completed in January 2020. Interventions: Random assignment of eyes (1 per participant) to aflibercept (100 participants) or vitrectomy with panretinal photocoagulation (105 participants). Participants whose eyes were assigned to aflibercept initially received 4 monthly injections. Both groups could receive aflibercept or vitrectomy during follow-up based on protocol criteria. Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was mean visual acuity letter score (range, 0-100; higher scores indicate better vision) over 24 weeks (area under the curve); the study was powered to detect a difference of 8 letters. Secondary outcomes included mean visual acuity at 4 weeks and 2 years. Results: Among 205 participants (205 eyes) who were randomized (mean [SD] age, 57 [11] years; 115 [56%] men; mean visual acuity letter score, 34.5 [Snellen equivalent, 20/200]), 95% (195 of 205) completed the 24-week visit and 90% (177 of 196, excluding 9 deaths) completed the 2-year visit. The mean visual acuity letter score over 24 weeks was 59.3 (Snellen equivalent, 20/63) (95% CI, 54.9 to 63.7) in the aflibercept group vs 63.0 (Snellen equivalent, 20/63) (95% CI, 58.6 to 67.3) in the vitrectomy group (adjusted difference, -5.0 [95% CI, -10.2 to 0.3], P = .06). Among 23 secondary outcomes, 15 showed no significant difference. The mean visual acuity letter score was 52.6 (Snellen equivalent, 20/100) in the aflibercept group vs 62.3 (Snellen equivalent, 20/63) in the vitrectomy group at 4 weeks (adjusted difference, -11.2 [95% CI, -18.5 to -3.9], P = .003) and 73.7 (Snellen equivalent, 20/40) vs 71.0 (Snellen equivalent, 20/40) at 2 years (adjusted difference, 2.7 [95% CI, -3.1 to 8.4], P = .36). Over 2 years, 33 eyes (33%) assigned to aflibercept received vitrectomy and 34 eyes (32%) assigned to vitrectomy received subsequent aflibercept. Conclusions and Relevance: Among participants whose eyes had vitreous hemorrhage from proliferative diabetic retinopathy, there was no statistically significant difference in the primary outcome of mean visual acuity letter score over 24 weeks following initial treatment with intravitreous aflibercept vs vitrectomy with panretinal photocoagulation. However, the study may have been underpowered, considering the range of the 95% CI, to detect a clinically important benefit in favor of initial vitrectomy with panretinal photocoagulation. Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02858076.
Arboleda-Velasquez JF, Valdez CN, Marko CK, D'Amore PA. From pathobiology to the targeting of pericytes for the treatment of diabetic retinopathy. Curr Diab Rep 2015;15(2):573.Abstract

Pericytes, the mural cells that constitute the capillaries along with endothelial cells, have been associated with the pathobiology of diabetic retinopathy; however, therapeutic implications of this association remain largely unexplored. Pericytes appear to be highly susceptible to the metabolic challenges associated with a diabetic environment, and there is substantial evidence that their loss may contribute to microvascular instability leading to the formation of microaneurysms, microhemorrhages, acellular capillaries, and capillary nonperfusion. Since pericytes are strategically located at the interface between the vascular and neural components of the retina, they offer extraordinary opportunities for therapeutic interventions in diabetic retinopathy. Moreover, the availability of novel imaging methodologies now allows for the in vivo visualization of pericytes, enabling a new generation of clinical trials that use pericyte tracking as clinical endpoints. The recognition of multiple signaling mechanisms involved in pericyte development and survival should allow for a renewed interest in pericytes as a therapeutic target for diabetic retinopathy.

Arboleda-Velasquez JF, Primo V, Graham M, James A, Manent J, D'Amore PA. Notch signaling functions in retinal pericyte survival. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2014;55(8):5191-9.Abstract
PURPOSE: Pericytes, the vascular cells that constitute the outer layer of capillaries, have been shown to have a crucial role in vascular development and stability. Loss of pericytes precedes endothelial cell dysfunction and vascular degeneration in small-vessel diseases, including diabetic retinopathy. Despite their clinical relevance, the cellular pathways controlling survival of retinal pericytes remain largely uncharacterized. Therefore, we investigated the role of Notch signaling, a master regulator of cell fate decisions, in retinal pericyte survival. METHODS: A coculture system of ligand-dependent Notch signaling was developed using primary cultured retinal pericytes and a mesenchymal cell line derived from an inducible mouse model expressing the Delta-like 1 Notch ligand. This model was used to examine the effect of Notch activity on pericyte survival using quantitative PCR (qPCR) and a light-induced cell death assay. The effect of Notch gain- and loss-of-function was analyzed in monocultures of retinal pericytes using antibody arrays to interrogate the expression of apoptosis-related proteins. RESULTS: Primary cultured retinal pericytes differentially expressed key molecules of the Notch pathway and displayed strong expression of canonical Notch/RBPJK (recombination signal-binding protein 1 for J-kappa) downstream targets. A gene expression screen using gain- and loss-of-function approaches identified genes relevant to cell survival as downstream targets of Notch activity in retinal pericytes. Ligand-mediated Notch activity protected retinal pericytes from light-induced cell death. CONCLUSIONS: Our results have identified signature genes downstream of Notch activity in retinal pericytes and suggest that tight regulation of Notch signaling is crucial for pericyte survival.
Ashraf M, Sampani K, AbdelAl O, Fleming A, Cavallerano J, Souka A, El Baha SM, Silva PS, Sun J, Aiello LP. Disparity of microaneurysm count between ultrawide field colour imaging and ultrawide field fluorescein angiography in eyes with diabetic retinopathy. Br J Ophthalmol 2020;104(12):1762-1767.Abstract
AIMS: To compare microaneurysm (MA) counts using ultrawide field colour images (UWF-CI) and ultrawide field fluorescein angiography (UWF-FA). METHODS: Retrospective study including patients with type 1 or 2 diabetes mellitus receiving UWF-FA and UWF-CI within 2 weeks. MAs were manually counted in individual Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) and extended UWF zones. Fields with MAs ≥20 determined diabetic retinopathy (DR) severity (0 fields=mild, 1-3=moderate, ≥4=severe). UWF-FA and UWF-CI agreement was determined and UWF-CI DR severity sensitivity analysis adjusting for UWF-FA MA counts performed. RESULTS: In 193 patients (288 eyes), 2.4% had no DR, 29.9% mild non-proliferative DR (NPDR), 32.6% moderate (NPDR), 22.9% severe NPDR and 12.2% proliferative DR. UWF-FA MA counts were 3.5-fold higher (p<0.001) than UWF-CI counts overall, 3.2x-fold higher in ETDRS fields (p<0.001) and 5.3-fold higher in extended ETDRS fields (p<0.001) and higher in type 1 versus type 2 diabetes (p<0.001). In eyes with NPDR on UWF-CI (n=246), UWF-FA images had 1.6x-3.5x more fields with ≥20 MAs (p<0.001). Fair agreement existed between imaging modalities (k=0.221-0.416). In ETDRS fields, DR severity agreement increased from k=0.346 to 0.600 when dividing UWF-FA counts by a factor of 3, followed by rapid decline in agreement thereafter. Total UWF area agreement increased from k=0.317 to 0.565 with an adjustment factor of either 4 or 5. CONCLUSIONS: UWF-FA detects threefold to fivefold more MAs than UWF-CI and identifies 1.6-3.5-fold more fields affecting DR severity. Differences exist at all DR severity levels, thus limiting direct comparison between the modalities. However, correcting UWF-FA MA counts substantially improves DR severity agreement between the modalities.
Ashraf M, Sampani K, Rageh A, Silva PS, Aiello LP, Sun JK. Interaction Between the Distribution of Diabetic Retinopathy Lesions and the Association of Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography Scans With Diabetic Retinopathy Severity. JAMA Ophthalmol 2020;138(12):1291-1297.Abstract
Importance: Studies have not yet determined whether the distribution of lesions in the retinal periphery alters the association between the severity of diabetic retinopathy (DR) and macular vessel density. Objective: To evaluate the association of DR lesion distribution with optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) metrics and DR severity. Design, Setting, and Participants: This cross-sectional observational study was conducted at a tertiary care center for diabetic eye disease among 225 patients with type 1 or 2 diabetes who had undergone imaging between February 15, 2016, and December 31, 2019. Exposures: Optical coherence tomography angiography 3 × 3-mm macular scans and ultra-widefield color imaging. Main Outcomes and Measures: Optical coherence tomography angiography vessel density in the superficial capillary plexus, intermediate capillary plexus, and deep capillary plexus and choriocapillaris flow density. The severity of DR and the predominantly peripheral lesions (PPL) were evaluated from ultra-widefield color imaging. Results: The study evaluated 352 eyes (225 patients; 125 men [55.6%]; mean [SD] age, 52.1 [15.1] years), of which 183 eyes (52.0%) had mild nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR), 71 eyes (20.2%) had moderate NPDR, and 98 eyes (27.8%) had severe NPDR or proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR). In eyes with no PPL (209 [59.4%]), the mean (SD) vessel density in the superficial capillary plexus (mild NPDR, 38.1% [4.7%]; moderate NPDR, 36.4% [4.6%]; severe NPDR or PDR, 34.1% [4.1%]; P < .001) and the deep capillary plexus (mild NPDR, 45.8% [3.0%]; moderate NPDR, 45.8% [2.2%]; severe NPDR or PDR, 44.5% [1.9%]; P = .002), as well as the mean (SD) choriocapillaris flow density (mild NPDR, 69.7% [6.2%]; moderate NPDR, 67.6% [5.6%]; severe NPDR or PDR, 67.1% [5.6%]; P = .01), decreased with increasing DR severity. These associations remained statistically significant even after correcting for age, signal strength index, spherical equivalent, duration of diabetes, type of diabetes, and correlation between eyes of the same patient. In eyes with PPL (143 [40.6%]), mean (SD) vessel density in the superficial capillary plexus (mild NPDR, 34.1% [4.1%]; moderate NPDR, 35.2% [4.1%]; severe NPDR or PDR, 36.0% [4.3%]; P = .42) and the deep capillary plexus (mild NPDR, 44.5% [1.7%]; moderate NPDR, 45.4% [1.4%]; severe NPDR or PDR, 44.9% [1.5%]; P = .81), as well as the mean (SD) choriocapillaris flow density (mild NPDR, 67.1% [5.6%]; moderate NPDR, 69.3% [4.6%]; severe NPDR or PDR, 68.3% [5.6%]; P = .49), did not appear to change with increasing DR severity. Conclusions and Relevance: These results suggest that central retinal vessel density is associated with DR severity in eyes without, but not with, PPL. These findings suggest a potential need to stratify future optical coherence tomography angiography studies of eyes with DR by the presence or absence of PPL. If DR onset and worsening are associated with the location of retinal nonperfusion, assessment of global retinal nonperfusion using widefield angiography may improve the ability to evaluate DR severity and risk of DR worsening over time.
Ashraf M, Shokrollahi S, Salongcay RP, Aiello LP, Silva PS. Diabetic retinopathy and ultrawide field imaging. Semin Ophthalmol 2020;35(1):56-65.Abstract
The introduction of ultrawide field imaging has allowed the visualization of approximately 82% of the total retinal area compared to only 30% using 7-standard field Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy (ETDRS) photography. This substantially wider field of view, while useful in many retinal vascular diseases, is particularly important in diabetic retinopathy where eyes with predominantly peripheral lesions or PPL have been shown to have significantly greater progression rates compared to eyes without PPL. In telemedicine settings, ultrawide field imaging has substantially reduced image ungradable rates and increased rate of disease identification allowing care to be delivered more effectively. Furthermore, the use of ultrawide field fluorescein angiography allows the visualization of significantly more diabetic retinal lesions and allows more accurate quantification of total retinal nonperfusion, with potential implications in the management of diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema. The focus of this paper is to review the current role of ultrawide field imaging in diabetic retinopathy and its possible future role in innovations for retinal image analysis such as artificial intelligence and vessel caliber measurements.
Ashraf M, Shokrollahi S, Pisig AU, Sampani K, AbdelAl O, Cavallerano JD, Robertson G, Fleming A, van Hemert J, Pitoc CM, Sun JK, Aiello LP, Silva PS. Retinal Vascular Caliber Association with Nonperfusion and Diabetic Retinopathy Severity Depends on Vascular Caliber Measurement Location. Ophthalmol Retina 2021;5(6):571-579.Abstract
PURPOSE: To evaluate the association of retinal nonperfusion and diabetic retinopathy (DR) severity with location of vascular caliber measurement using ultrawide field (UWF) imaging. DESIGN: Retrospective image review. PARTICIPANTS: Adults with diabetes mellitus. METHODS: All images from subjects with same-day UWF fluorescein angiography (FA) and color imaging were evaluated. Predominantly peripheral lesions (PPL) and DR severity were graded from UWF color images. Nonperfusion was quantified using UWF-FA in defined retinal regions [posterior pole (PP), mid-periphery (MP), far-periphery (FP)]. Retinal vessel calibers were measured at an optic disc centered inner and outer zone. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Nonperfusion index (NPI) in the PP, MP and FP. Mean arteriole and venule diameter in the inner and outer zones. RESULTS: Two hundred eighty-five eyes of 193 patients (24.9% mild nonproliferative DR [NPDR], 22.8% moderate NPDR, 37.5% severe NPDR and 14.7% proliferative DR [PDR]) were reviewed. No significant associations between inner zone arteriolar diameter and retinal NPI overall or in any retinal region. In the outer zone, eyes with thinnest arteriolar calibers (quartile 1) were associated with a 1.7- to 2.4-fold nonperfusion increase across all retinal regions compared to the remaining eyes (P = 0.002 [PP] to 0.048 [FP]). In the outer zone, the percentage of eyes in the thinnest quartile of retinal arteriolar diameter increased with worsening DR severity (mild NPDR: 10% vs PDR: 31%, P = 0.007). This association was not observed when measured within the inner zone (P = 0.129). All venular caliber associations were not statistically significant when corrected for potentially confounding factors. Thinner outer zone retinal arteriolar caliber (quartile 1) was more common in eyes with PPL compared to eyes without PPL (34.1% vs 20.8%, P = 0.017) as were thicker outer venular calibers (quartile 4) (33% vs 21.3%, P = 0.036). Presence of PPL was associated with thinner outer zone arteriolar caliber (109.7 ± 26.5μm vs 123.0 ± 29.5μm, P = 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: The association of vascular caliber with nonperfusion and DR severity differs based upon the retinal location at which vascular caliber is measured. Peripheral arterial narrowing is associated with increasing nonperfusion, worsening DR severity and presence of PPL. In contrast, inner zone retinal arteriolar caliber is not associated with these findings.
Ashraf M, Rageh A, Gilbert M, Tolls D, Fleming A, Souka A, El-Baha S, Cavallerano JD, Sun JK, Aiello LP, Silva PS. Factors Affecting Predominantly Peripheral Lesion Identification and Grading. Transl Vis Sci Technol 2021;10(7):6.Abstract
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine factors affecting predominantly peripheral lesion (PPL) grading, such as qualitative versus quantitative assessment, device type, and severity of diabetic retinopathy (DR) in ultrawide field color images (UWF-CIs). Methods: Patients with DR had UWF-CI qualitatively graded for PPL using standardized techniques and had hemorrhages/microaneurysms (H/Mas) individually annotated for quantitative PPL grading on two different ultrawide field devices. Results: Among 791 eyes of 481 patients, 38.2% had mild nonproliferative DR (NPDR), 34.7% had moderate NPDR, and 27.1% had severe NPDR to proliferative DR (PDR). The overall agreement between qualitative and quantitative PPL grading was moderate (ĸ = 0.423, P < 0.001). Agreement rates were fair in eyes with mild NPDR (ĸ = 0.336, P < 0.001) but moderate in eyes with moderate NPDR (ĸ = 0.525, P < 0.001) and severe NPDR-PDR (ĸ = 0.409, P < 0.001). Increasing thresholds for quantitative PPL determination improved agreement rates, with peak agreements at H/Ma count differences of six for mild NPDR, five for moderate NPDR, and nine for severe NPDR-PDR. Based on ultrawide field device type (California = 412 eyes vs. 200Tx = 379 eyes), agreement between qualitative and quantitative PPL grading was moderate for all DR severities in both devices (ĸ = 0.369-0.526, P < 0.001) except for mild NPDR on the 200Tx, which had poor agreement (ĸ = 0.055, P = 0.478). Conclusions: Determination of PPL varies between standard qualitative and quantitative grading and is dependent on NPDR severity, device type, and magnitude of lesion differences used for quantitative assessment. Translational Relevance: Prior UWF studies have not accounted for imaging and grading factors that affect PPL, such factors need to be reviewed when assessing thresholds for DR progression rates.
Azad AD, Chen EM, Hinkle J, Rayess N, Wu D, Eliott D, Mruthyunjaya P, Parikh R. Anti-Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor and Panretinal Photocoagulation Use after Protocol S for Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy. Ophthalmol Retina 2021;5(2):151-159.Abstract
PURPOSE: To characterize the rates of panretinal photocoagulation (PRP) and anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) medications before and after publication of the Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network protocol S. DESIGN: A retrospective, cross-sectional study from January 2012, through September 2019, using a nationally representative claims-based database, Clinformatics Data Mart Database (OptumInsight, Eden Prairie, MN). PARTICIPANTS: Eyes newly diagnosed with proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR), continuous enrollment, and no prior treatment with PRP or anti-VEGF agents. METHODS: Interrupted time series regression analysis was performed to identify the annual change in treatment rates before and after the publication of Protocol S (November 2015). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Annual rates of anti-VEGF or PRP treatments per 1000 treated eyes with PDR. RESULTS: From 2012 through 2019, 10 035 PRP or anti-VEGF treatments were administered to 3685 PDR eyes. Of these, 63.6% (n = 6379) were anti-VEGF agents, and 36.4% (n = 3656) were PRP treatments. Throughout treatment, 88.7% of eyes treated with anti-VEGF received the same agent and 7.7% were treated with both PRP and anti-VEGF agents. Panretinal photocoagulation rates declined from 784/1000 treated eyes in 2012 to 566/1000 in 2019 (pre-Protocol S: β = -32 vs. post-Protocol S: -77; P = 0.005), whereas anti-VEGF rates increased from 876/1000 in 2012 to 1583/1000 in 2019 (β = -48 vs. 161, respectively; P = 0.001). Panretinal photocoagulation rates in diabetic macular edema (DME) eyes did not significantly differ from 474/1000 in 2012 to 363/1000 in 2019 (β = -9 vs. -58 respectively; P = 0.091), and anti-VEGF rates increased from 1533/1000 in 2012 to 2096/1000 in 2019 (β = -57 vs. 187; P = 0.043). In eyes without DME, PRP use declined from 1017/1000 in 2012 to 707/1000 in 2019 (β = -31 vs. -111, respectively; P < 0.001), and anti-VEGF use increased from 383/1000 in 2012 to 1226/1000 in 2019 (β = -48 vs. 140, respectively; P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Following the publication of Protocol S, PRP rates decreased, while anti-VEGF rates increased. Panretinal photocoagulation rates did not significantly change among eyes with DME. Our findings indicate the impact that randomized controlled trials can have on real-world practice patterns.
Azad AD, Chen EM, Hinkle J, Rayess N, Wu D, Eliott D, Mruthyunjaya P, Parikh R. Trends in Anti-Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Agents and Panretinal Photocoagulation Use in Diabetic Retinopathy. Ophthalmol Retina 2021;5(4):390-392.
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Baker CW, Glassman AR, Beaulieu WT, Antoszyk AN, Browning DJ, Chalam KV, Grover S, Jampol LM, Jhaveri CD, Melia M, Stockdale CR, Martin DF, Sun JK, Sun JK. Effect of Initial Management With Aflibercept vs Laser Photocoagulation vs Observation on Vision Loss Among Patients With Diabetic Macular Edema Involving the Center of the Macula and Good Visual Acuity: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA 2019;Abstract
Importance: Intravitreous injections of antivascular endothelial growth factor agents are effective for treating diabetic macular edema (DME) involving the center of the macula (center-involved DME [CI-DME]) with visual acuity impairment (20/32 or worse). The best approach to treating patients with CI-DME and good visual acuity (20/25 or better) is unknown. Objective: To compare vision loss at 2 years among eyes initially managed with aflibercept, laser photocoagulation, or observation. Design, Setting, and Participants: Randomized clinical trial conducted at 91 US and Canadian sites among 702 adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Participants had 1 study eye with CI-DME and visual acuity of 20/25 or better. The first participant was randomized on November 8, 2013, and the final date of follow-up was September 11, 2018. Interventions: Eyes were randomly assigned to 2.0 mg of intravitreous aflibercept (n = 226) as frequently as every 4 weeks, focal/grid laser photocoagulation (n = 240), or observation (n = 236). Aflibercept was required for eyes in the laser photocoagulation or observation groups that had decreased visual acuity from baseline by at least 10 letters (≥ 2 lines on an eye chart) at any visit or by 5 to 9 letters (1-2 lines) at 2 consecutive visits. Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was at least a 5-letter visual acuity decrease from baseline at 2 years. Antiplatelet Trialists' Collaboration adverse events (defined as myocardial infarction, stroke, or vascular or unknown death) were reported. Results: Among 702 randomized participants (mean age, 59 years; 38% female [n=264]), 625 of 681 (92% excluding deaths) completed the 2-year visit. For eyes with visual acuity that decreased from baseline, aflibercept was initiated in 25% (60/240) and 34% (80/326) in the laser photocoagulation and observation groups, respectively. At 2 years, the percentage of eyes with at least a 5-letter visual acuity decrease was 16% (33/205), 17% (36/212), and 19% (39/208) in the aflibercept, laser photocoagulation, and observation groups, respectively (aflibercept vs laser photocoagulation risk difference, -2% [95% CI, -9% to 5%]; relative risk, 0.88 [95% CI, 0.57-1.35; P = .79]; aflibercept vs observation risk difference, -3% [95% CI, -11% to 4%]; relative risk, 0.83 [95% CI, 0.55-1.27; P = .79]; laser photocoagulation vs observation risk difference, -1% [95% CI, -9% to 6%]; relative risk, 0.95 [95% CI, 0.64-1.41; P = .79]). Antiplatelet Trialists' Collaboration vascular events occurred in 15 (7%), 13 (5%), and 8 (3%) participants in the aflibercept, laser photocoagulation, and observation groups. Conclusions and Relevance: Among eyes with CI-DME and good visual acuity, there was no significant difference in vision loss at 2 years whether eyes were initially managed with aflibercept or with laser photocoagulation or observation and given aflibercept only if visual acuity worsened. Observation without treatment unless visual acuity worsens may be a reasonable strategy for CI-DME. Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01909791.
Barham R, Rami HE, Sun JK, Silva PS. Evidence-Based Treatment of Diabetic Macular Edema. Semin Ophthalmol 2017;32(1):56-66.Abstract

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease that affects 415 million people worldwide. Despite treatment advances, diabetic eye disease remains a leading cause of vision loss worldwide. Diabetic macular edema (DME) is a common cause of vision loss in diabetic patients. The pathophysiology is complex and involves multiple pathways that ultimately lead to central retinal thickening and, if untreated, visual loss. First-line treatment of DME has evolved from focal/grid laser established by the Early Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) to intravitreous pharmacologic therapy. Landmark prospective clinical trials examining the effect of intravitreous injections of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitors in the treatment of DME have demonstrated improved visual outcomes over focal grid laser. This review focuses on the scientific evidence treatment of DME, disease pathophysiology, clinical disease course, current treatment standards, and emerging novel therapeutic approaches.

Bernabeu MO, Lu Y, Abu-Qamar O, Aiello LP, Sun JK. Estimation of Diabetic Retinal Microaneurysm Perfusion Parameters Based on Computational Fluid Dynamics Modeling of Adaptive Optics Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscopy. Front Physiol 2018;9:989.Abstract
Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a leading cause of vision loss worldwide. Microaneurysms (MAs), which are abnormal outpouchings of the retinal vessels, are early and hallmark lesions of DR. The presence and severity of MAs are utilized to determine overall DR severity. In addition, MAs can directly contribute to retinal neural pathology by leaking fluid into the surrounding retina, causing abnormal central retinal thickening and thereby frequently leading to vision loss. Vascular perfusion parameters such as shear rate (SR) or wall shear stress (WSS) have been linked to blood clotting and endothelial cell dysfunction, respectively in non-retinal vasculature. However, despite the importance of MAs as a key aspect of diabetic retinal pathology, much remains unknown as to how structural characteristics of individual MAs are associated with these perfusion attributes. MA structural information obtained on high resolution adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscopy (AOSLO) was utilized to estimate perfusion parameters through Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis of the AOSLO images. The HemeLB flow solver was used to simulate steady-state and time-dependent fluid flow using both commodity hospital-based and high performance computing resources, depending on the degree of detail required in the simulations. Our results indicate that WSS is lowest in MA regions furthest away from the feeding vessels. Furthermore, areas of low SR are associated with clot location in saccular MAs. These findings suggest that morphology and CFD estimation of perfusion parameters may be useful tools for determining the likelihood of clot presence in individual diabetic MAs.
de Boer IH, Zelnick LR, Lin J, Schaumberg D, Wang L, Ruzinski J, Friedenberg G, Duszlak J, Bubes VY, Hoofnagle AN, Thadhani R, Glynn RJ, Buring JE, Sesso HD, Manson JAE. Vitamin D and omega-3 trial to prevent and treat diabetic kidney disease: Rationale, design, and baseline characteristics. Contemp Clin Trials 2018;74:11-17.Abstract
Diabetic kidney disease (DKD), defined as reduced glomerular filtration rate (GFR), elevated urine albumin excretion, or both that is clinically attributable to diabetes, is a common and morbid diabetes complication. Animal-experimental data, observational human studies, and short-term clinical trials suggest that vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acid supplements may be safe and inexpensive interventions to reduce the incidence and progression of DKD. The Vitamin D and Omega-3 Trial to Prevent and Treat DKD (VITAL-DKD) was designed as an ancillary study to the VITAL trial of 25,871 US adults. In a 2 × 2 factorial design, VITAL participants were randomly assigned to vitamin D (cholecalciferol, 2000 IU daily) or placebo and to marine omega-3 fatty acids (eicospentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, 1 g/d) or placebo. VITAL-DKD enrolled a subset of 1326 VITAL participants with type 2 diabetes at baseline to test the effects of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids on changes in estimated GFR and urine albumin excretion. Over five years of follow-up, VITAL-DKD collected blood and urine samples to quantify changes in estimated GFR (the primary study outcome) and urine albumin excretion. At baseline, mean age of VITAL-DKD participants was 67.6 years, 46% were women, 30% were of racial or ethnic minority, and the prevalence of DKD (estimated GFR <60 mL/min/1.73m or urine albumin-creatinine ratio ≥ 30 mg/g) was 17%. In this type 2 diabetes population, VITAL-DKD will test the hypotheses that vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids help prevent the development and progression of DKD.

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