Diabetic retinal pigment epitheliopathy: fundus autofluorescence and spectral-domain optical coherence tomography findings

  • Eui Chun Kang
  • Yuri Seo
  • Suk Ho ByeonEmail author
Retinal Disorders



To describe the characteristics of an unfamiliar disease entity, diabetic retinal pigment epitheliopathy (DRPE), using fundus autofluorescence (FAF) and spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT).


This retrospective study included 17 eyes from 10 proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) patients with granular hypo-autofluorescence and/or variable hyper-autofluorescence on FAF (DRPE group) and 17 eyes from 10 age- and sex-matched PDR patients without abnormal autofluorescence (PDR group). Eyes with diabetic macular edema were excluded. Visual acuity (VA), retinal thickness (RT), and choroidal thickness (CT) were compared between the groups.


Eyes in the DRPE group had worse logMAR VA than eyes in the PDR group (0.369 ± 0.266 vs. 0.185 ± 0.119; P = 0.026). The thickness of the retinal pigment epithelium plus the inner segment/outer segment of the photoreceptors was reduced to a greater degree in the DRPE group than the PDR group (P < 0.001). Moreover, the thickness of the outer nuclear layer plus the outer plexiform layer was thinner in the DRPE group than in the PDR (P = 0.013). However, the thickness of the inner retina showed no differences between the two groups. CT was significantly thicker in the DRPE group than in the PDR group (329.00 ± 33.76 vs. 225.62 ± 37.47 μm; P < 0.001).


Eyes with DRPE showed reduced VA, a thinner outer retina, and thicker choroid in comparison with eyes with PDR. Alterations of autofluorescence on FAF and changes in the outer retinal thickness and CT on SD-OCT can be helpful for differentiating DRPE in patients with PDR.


Diabetic retinal pigment epitheliopathy Fundus autofluorescence Proliferative diabetic retinopathy Spectral-domain optical coherence tomography 


Compliance with ethical standards

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


This research was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (2013R1A1A2007865). The sponsor had no role in the design or conduct of this research.

Conflict of interest

All authors certify that they have no affiliations with or involvement in any organization or entity with any financial interest (such as honoraria; educational grants; participation in speakers’ bureaus; membership, employment, consultancies, stock ownership, or other equity interest; or expert testimony or patent-licensing arrangements) or non-financial interest (such as personal or professional relationships, affiliations, knowledge or beliefs) in the subject matter or materials discussed in this manuscript.

Informed consent

For this type of study, formal consent is not required.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ophthalmology, Institute of Vision ResearchYonsei University College of MedicineSeoulKorea

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