Macular telangiectasia type 2 (MacTel) is a vision-altering retinal disease with a high prevalence of diabetes. Differences between patients with MacTel with and without diabetes were investigated using fluorescence lifetime imaging ophthalmoscopy (FLIO).
Eighty-six patients with MacTel (59 ± 12 years) were included. 40 patients (46%) did not have diabetes, 16 patients (19%) were prediabetic, and 30 patients (35%) were diabetic. Of these, seven had diabetic retinopathy. 18 diabetic patients without MacTel and 42 age-matched healthy controls were included. FLIO lifetimes (FLTs) were obtained in short (SSC, 498–560 nm) and long (LSC, 560–720 nm) spectral channels from different areas of interest using a Heidelberg Engineering FLIO.
Fundus autofluorescece lifetimes did not show significant differences when comparing diabetic with nondiabetic MacTel eyes (MacTel zone, SSC, diabetic: 243 ± 65 ps; nondiabetic: 232 ± 51 ps; P = 1.0; LSC, diabetic: 327 ± 66 ps; nondiabetic: 309 ± 54 ps; P = 0.582). Longitudinal changes were similarly unrelated to diabetes status. A nonsignificant trend of increased FLT progression with higher body mass index was found. Fundus autofluorescece lifetimes in diabetic patients without MacTel were significantly shorter within the MacTel zone and longer in the periphery compared with diabetic patients with MacTel.
Although MacTel has a high prevalence of diabetes, FLTs from the MacTel zone are unrelated to diabetes. Fluorescence lifetime imaging ophthalmoscopy retains diagnostic abilities in patients with MacTel even in the presence of prediabetes, diabetes, and advanced diabetic retinopathy. The lack of diabetic FLT changes in the periphery of diabetic patients with MacTel is an interesting finding that needs further investigation.