Role of noninvasive ocular imaging as a biomarker in peripheral artery disease: A systematic review

Mallika Prem Senthil, Chroran Kurban, Ngoc Thuy Nguyen, Anh-Phuong Nguyen, Ranjay Chakraborty, Christopher Delaney, Robyn Clark, Saumya Anand, Heena Bhardwaj

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This study aimed to review the current literature exploring the utility of noninvasive ocular imaging for the diagnosis of peripheral artery disease (PAD). Our search was conducted in early April 2022 and included the databases Medline, Scopus, Embase, Cochrane, and others. Five articles were included in the final review. Of the five studies that used ocular imaging in PAD, two studies used retinal color fundus photography, one used optical coherence tomography (OCT), and two used optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) to assess the ocular changes in PAD. PAD was associated with both structural and functional changes in the retina. Structural alterations around the optic disc and temporal retinal vascular arcades were seen in color fundus photography of patients with PAD compared to healthy individuals. The presence of retinal hemorrhages, exudates, and microaneurysms in color fundus photography was associated with an increased future risk of PAD, especially the severe form of the disease. The retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) was significantly thinner in the nasal quadrant in patients with PAD compared to age-matched healthy individuals in OCT. Similarly, the choroidal thickness in the subfoveal region was significantly thinner in patients with PAD compared to controls. Patients with PAD also had a significant reduction in the retinal and choroidal circulation in OCTA compared to healthy controls. As PAD causes thinning and ischemic changes in retinal vessels, examination of the retinal vessels using retinal imaging techniques can provide useful information about early microvascular damage in PAD. Ocular imaging could potentially serve as a biomarker for PAD.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
Early online date6 Dec 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Dec 2023


  • fundus photography
  • ocular biomarker
  • optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA)
  • peripheral artery disease (PAD)
  • retinal imaging


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