Structural Retinal Assessment Using Optical Coherence Tomography and Fundus Fluorescein Angiography in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Patients

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BackgroundOcular manifestations in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) can be the presenting symptom of the disease or a sight-threatening complication.ObjectivesTo detect different structural retinal changes in patients with SLE who had no ophthalmological symptoms and investigate the relationship between different retinal changes and the disease activity assessed by the Systemic Lupus Erythromatosus Disease Activity Index score.Study DesignA descriptive pilot study from January 2016 to January 2017.MethodsFifty-two eyes of 26 patients diagnosed to have SLE were examined using visual acuity assessment, fundus examination, optical coherence tomography (OCT), and fundus fluorescein angiography (FFA).ResultsFundus fluorescein angiography showed different changes in the form of venular occlusion and optic nerve leakage. There were also degenerative changes in the form of alternating hyperfluorescent and hypofluorescent areas outside the arcades as well as peripapillary areas and capillary dropout. Optical coherence tomography detected signs of degenerative thinning, incomplete posterior vitreous detachment, and epiretinal membrane. A significant correlation was found between SLE activity and the changes detected by FFA (p = 0.017). However, there was no significant correlation between disease activity and changes detected by OCT. Optical coherence tomography changes were significantly correlated with the duration of hydroxychloroquine use of more than 5 years (p = 0.032). There was no correlation between FFA or OCT changes and proteinuria or antiphospholipid antibodies.ConclusionsFundus fluorescein angiography is more sensitive in detecting early subclinical retinal changes in patients with SLE, which correlates with disease activity, whereas OCT is more sensitive in detecting changes resulting from hydroxychloroquine use.

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