Nonarteritic ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION) has been linked with vascular insufficiency, although the pathophysiology remains elusive. Optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) is a promising technology that noninvasively evaluates optic disc perfusion and that may help to characterize peripapillary vascular changes in NAION.
This study aimed to evaluate peripapillary vascularity in NAION eyes and to compare it with fellow unaffected eyes and healthy control eyes using OCTA.
In this cross-sectional study, OCTA of the optic nerve head was obtained in 10 nonacute unilateral NAION and 12 healthy age-matched controls using ZEISS Angioplex. Quantitative analysis of peripapillary retinal and choroidal vascularity of NAION eyes was done using the instrument's inbuilt algorithm and ImageJ software and compared with fellow and control eyes.
Mean total peripapillary superficial retinal vessel and perfusion density as calculated by the instrument was significantly reduced in NAION eyes compared with fellow eyes (13.93 ± 4.27 mm−1/0.36 ± 0.07 for NAION eyes; 17.77 ± 1.26 mm−1/0.43 ± 0.08 for fellow eyes; P = .01/P = .05). Using the ImageJ software technique, the mean superficial retinal perfusion was found to be significantly reduced in NAION eyes (0.17 ± 0.07) compared with fellow eyes (0.25 ± 0.06; P < .01) and control eyes (0.25 ± 0.04; P < .01). At the level of choriocapillaris, it was not significantly affected in NAION eyes (0.37 ± 0.13) versus fellow (0.34 ± 0.14; P = .1) and control eyes (0.31 ± 0.34; P = .83). Analysis with the two techniques yielded differing results: the ImageJ analysis technique found a 32% reduction in superficial retinal perfusion in NAION eyes, whereas the instrument's inbuilt algorithm found a 16% reduction compared with fellow and control eyes (P ≤.01).
Peripapillary vascularity can be estimated both at the retinal and choroidal levels using ImageJ software to analyze OCTA images. Retinal peripapillary vascularity is compromised in NAION eyes, but vascularity is not significantly affected at the choroidal level.