Background: Optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) is a non-invasive tool for imaging and quantifying the choroidal vasculature and perfusion state. In this index study, OCTA was used to investigate diurnal changes in choroidal sublayer perfusion in eyes with idiopathic epiretinal membrane (ERM) and to identify impacting factors.
Methods: A prospective study was conducted on volunteers with symptomatic ERM, each of whom underwent repeated measurements of subfoveal choroidal thickness (SFCT) using enhanced-depth imaging optical coherence tomography and perfusion of choroidal vascular sublayers using OCTA at 7 a.m., 12 p.m., 4 p.m., and 8 p.m. Possible interactions between diurnal variations and other factors, such as gender and age, were evaluated.
Results: A total of 21 eyes of 21 participants (mean age 72.43 ± 7.06 years) were analysed. A significant pattern of diurnal variation was observed for SFCT (p = 0.008) as well as perfusion of Haller's layer (HLP, p = 0.001). SFCT and HLP both demonstrated a quadratic relation to time of the day, decreasing from morning to afternoon, before increasing again in the evening. No significant differences with regard to gender or age were detectable.
Conclusion: OCTA-based analysis of choroidal sublayer perfusion demonstrated significant diurnal variations in patients with symptomatic ERM, which are quite different from changes reported in healthy eyes. Therefore, it is important to account for time of day, when comparing longitudinal OCTA data.