Image artefacts in swept-source optical coherence tomography angiography

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Abstract

Purpose

To describe optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) image artefacts in eyes with and without ocular pathologies.

Methods

The OCTA images of healthy subjects and patients with age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and retinal vascular occlusions were retrospectively reviewed. All OCTA images were obtained using a swept-source OCTA instrument (Triton, Topcon). The frequency of various image artefacts including segmentation, banding, motion, projection, masking, unmasking, doubling of the retinal vessels, blink, stretching, out-of-window and crisscross artefacts was assessed. The impact of the artefact on the grading of the images for the foveal avascular zone in deep and superficial retinal layers, capillary non-perfusion and choroidal neovascularisation (CNV) was evaluated.

Results

OCTA images of 57 eyes of 48 subjects including 23 eyes (40.3%) with CNV, 13 eyes (22.8%) with dry age-related macular degeneration, 9 eyes (15.7%) with cystoid macular oedema due to diabetic retinopathy or retinal vein occlusion and 12 normal eyes (21.1%) were available for evaluation. At least one type of artefact was present in the images from 51 eyes (89.4%). Banding artefact, segmentation, motion, unmasking, blink, vessel doubling, masking and out-of-window artefacts were found in 51 (89.4%), 35 (61.4%), 28 (49.1%), 9 (15.8%), 5 (8.8%), 1 (1.7%), 1 eye (1.7%) and 1 eye (1.7%), respectively. Projection artefact, stretch artefact or crisscross artefact was not observed. Banding, motion and segmentation artefacts were statistically significantly more frequent in eyes with ocular pathology compared with control eyes (all p<0.001). Eyes with choroidal diseases had significantly higher rate of segmentation error in the choriocapillaris slab compared with eyes with only retinal disease (p=0.02). In nine eyes (17.6%), the artefacts were deemed severe enough by the graders to preclude accurate grading of the image.

Conclusions

Image artefacts occur frequently in OCTA images. The artefacts are more frequent in eyes with pathology.

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