Risk stratification plays a large role in cardiovascular disease (CVD) management. Spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) allows for noninvasive analysis of the ophthalmic vasculature, with potential for systemic disease surveillance. Subfoveal choroidal thickness (SFCT) may serve as a marker for CVD risk and play a role in risk stratification.
This study aimed to explore the association of major CVD risk factors on SFCT measured from SD-OCT images in a general population of U.S. veterans.
One hundred fifty veterans were prospectively recruited at the Jamaica Plain VA Hospital (Boston, MA). A total of 143 participants were included in the final analysis. The SFCT was manually measured from Spectralis SD-OCT macular scans, and medical chart review was analyzed for CVD data. The SFCT measurements were correlated with CVD risk factors and CVD clinical makers while controlling for age and refractive error. Mean differences in SFCT between those with and without CVD risk factors were analyzed.
In multivariate analysis, diabetes diagnosis was independently associated with thinner subfoveal choroid (P
= .001) and hypertension and hyperlipidemia with thicker subfoveal choroid (P
= .006 and P
= .05). After adjusting for age and refractive error, veterans with diabetes had thinner choroids than those without (P
= .02), and veterans with hypertension and hyperlipidemia had thicker choroids than those without, although these differences did not reach statistical significance (P
= .07 and P
Comorbid risk factors for CVD are independently associated with optical coherence tomography–derived measurements of subfoveal choroidal thickness in a vasculopathic population of U.S. veterans, and there are detectable differences in subfoveal choroidal thickness between groups with and without CVD risk factors. Larger studies with adequate controls and longitudinal design are necessary to assess the clinical role of SFCT measurements in CVD risk analysis.