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The association between retinal vascular geometry changes and diabetic retinopathy and their role in prediction of progression - an exploratory study

Lookup NU author(s): Maged Habib, Professor David SteelORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Background: The study describes the relationship of retinal vascular geometry (RVG) to severity of diabetic retinopathy (DR), and its predictive role for subsequent development of proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR).Methods: The research project comprises of two stages. Firstly, a comparative study of diabetic patients with different grades of DR. (No DR: Minimal non-proliferative DR: Severe non-proliferative DR: PDR) (10: 10: 12: 19). Analysed RVG features including vascular widths and branching angles were compared between patient cohorts. A preliminary statistical model for determination of the retinopathy grade of patients, using these features, is presented. Secondly, in a longitudinal predictive study, RVG features were analysed for diabetic patients with progressive DR over 7 years. RVG at baseline was examined to determine risk for subsequent PDR development.Results: In the comparative study, increased DR severity was associated with gradual vascular dilatation (p = 0.000), and widening of the bifurcating angle (p = 0.000) with increase in smaller-child-vessel branching angle (p = 0.027). Type 2 diabetes and increased diabetes duration were associated with increased vascular width (p = <0.05 In the predictive study, at baseline, reduced small-child vascular width (OR = 0.73 (95% CI 0.58-0.92)), was predictive of future progression to PDR.Conclusions: The study findings suggest that RVG alterations can act as novel markers indicative of progression of DR severity and establishment of PDR. RVG may also have a potential predictive role in determining the risk of future retinopathy progression.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Habib MS, Al-Diri B, Hunter A, Steel DHW

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: BMC Ophthalmology

Year: 2014

Volume: 14

Pages: 1-11

Online publication date: 07/07/2014

Acceptance date: 30/06/2014

Date deposited: 18/08/2014

ISSN (electronic): 1471-2415

Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd.


DOI: 10.1186/1471-2415-14-89


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