Changes in retinal venular oxygen saturation predict activity of proliferative diabetic retinopathy 3 months after panretinal photocoagulation

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Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) is a severe blinding condition. We investigated whether retinal metabolism, measured by retinal oximetry, may predict PDR activity after panretinal laser photocoagulation (PRP).


We performed a prospective, interventional, clinical study of patients with treatment-naive PDR. Wide-field fluorescein angiography (OPTOS, Optomap) and global and focal retinal oximetry (Oxymap T1) were performed at baseline (BL), and 3 months (3M) after PRP. Angiographic findings were used to divide patients according to progression or non-progression of PDR after PRP. We evaluated differences in global and focal retinal oxygen saturation between patients with and without progression of PDR after PRP treatment.


We included 45 eyes of 37 patients (median age and duration of diabetes were 51.6 and 20 years). Eyes with progression of PDR developed a higher retinal venous oxygen saturation than eyes with non-progression at 3M (global: +5.9% (95% CI –1.5 to 12.9), focal: +5.4%, (95% CI –4.1 to 14.8)). Likewise, progression of PDR was associated with a lower arteriovenular (AV) oxygen difference between BL and 3M (global: –6.1%, (95% CI –13.4 to –1.4), focal: –4.5% (95% CI –12.1 to 3.2)). In a multiple logistic regression model, increment in global retinal venular oxygen saturation (OR 1.30 per 1%-point increment, p=0.017) and decrement in AV oxygen saturation difference (OR 0.72 per 1%-point increment, p=0.016) at 3M independently predicted progression of PDR.


Development of higher retinal venular and lower AV global oxygen saturation independently predicts progression of PDR despite standard PRP and might be a potential non-invasive marker of angiogenic disease activity.

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