Background: The global and precise follow-up of uveitis has become possible with the availability of dual fluorescein (FA) and indocyanine green angiography (ICGA) since the mid-1990s. Progressively, additional non-invasive imaging methods have emerged, bringing value-added precision to the imaging appraisal of uveitis, including, among others, optical coherence tomography (OCT), enhanced-depth imaging OCT (EDI-OCT) and blue light fundus autofluorescence (BAF). More recently, another complementary imaging method, OCT-angiography (OCT-A), further allowed retinal and choroidal circulation to be imaged without the need for dye injection.
Purpose: The purpose of this review was aimed at examining the evidence in published reports indicating whether OCT-A could possibly replace dye angiographic methods, as well as the real practical impact of OCT-A.
Methods: A literature search in the PubMed database was performed using the terms OCT-angiography and uveitis, OCTA and uveitis and OCT-A and uveitis. Case reports were excluded. Articles were classified into technical reports, research reports and reviews. Articles in the two latter categories were analyzed in a more detailed, individual fashion. Special attention was paid to whether there were arguments in favor of an exclusive rather than complementary use of OCT-A. Furthermore, a synthesis of the main practical applications of OCT-A in the management of uveitis was attempted.
Results: Between 2016 (the year of the first articles) and 2022, 144 articles containing the search terms were identified. After excluding case report articles, 114 articles were retained: 4 in 2016, 17 in 2017, 14 in 2018, 21 in 2019, 14 in 2020, 18 in 2021 and 26 in 2022. Seven articles contained technical information or consensus-based terminology. Ninety-two articles could be considered as clinical research articles. Of those, only two hinted in their conclusions that OCT-A could hypothetically replace dye methods. The terms mostly used to qualify the contribution of the articles in this group were “complementary to dye methods”, “adjunct”, “supplementing” and other similar terms. Fifteen articles were reviews, none of which hinted that OCT-A could replace dye methods. The situations where OCT-A represented a significant practical contribution to the practical appraisal of uveitis were identified.
Conclusion: To date, no evidence was found in the literature that OCT-A can replace the classic dye methods; however, it can complement them. Promoting the possibility that non-invasive OCT-A can substitute the invasive dye methods is deleterious, giving the elusive impression that dye methods are no longer inevitable for evaluating uveitis patients. Nevertheless, OCT-A is a precious tool in uveitis research.