Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) is an extremely severe and common degenerative disease. The purpose of this study was to quantify the relationship between various parameters including the Foveal Avascular Zone (FAZ) morphology, retinal layer thickness, and retinal hemodynamic properties in healthy controls and patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) with and with no mild DR (MDR) using Spectral-Domain Optical Coherence Tomography (Spectralis SDOCT, Heidelberg Engineering GmbH, Germany) and the Retinal Function Imager (Optical Imaging, Ltd., Rehovot, Israel). Our results showed a higher FAZ area and diameter in MDR patients. Blood flow analysis also showed that there is a significantly smaller venous blood flow velocity in MDR patients. Also, a significant difference in roundness was observed between DM and MDR groups supporting the development of asymmetrical FAZ expansion with worsening DR. Our results suggest a potential anisotropy in the mechanical properties of the diabetic retina with no retinopathy that may trigger the FAZ elongation in a preferred direction resulting in either thinning or thickening of intraretinal layers in the inner and outer segments of the retina as a result of autoregulation. A detailed understanding of these relationships may facilitate earlier detection of DR, allowing for preservation of vision and better clinical outcomes.
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