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Diagnostics (Basel) ; 13(6)2023 Mar 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2255978


PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to analyze choroidal and retinal vascular alterations of both the macula and midperiphery areas in patients hospitalized for COVID-19 infection complicated with pneumonia within 30 days from discharge. METHODS: A total of 46 eyes of 23 subjects with a history of symptomatic COVID-19 infection and recent hospitalization for pneumonia were enrolled in this observational study. Patients had not been previously vaccinated against COVID-19. A group of patients homogenous for age and sex was enrolled as controls. Microvascular retinal and choroidal features of the enrolled patients were studied with widefield optical coherence tomography angiography (OCT-A). Perfusion parameters in terms of the vessel density (VD) of the superficial capillary plexus (SCP) and deep capillary plexus (DCP) and the choroidal vascularity index (CVI) on enhanced depth imaging (EDI) mode OCT scans were analyzed. RESULTS: Our cohort of patients showed a trend of reduction in VD, significantly in the SCP VD of the superior and inferior midperiphery sectors, whereas the CVI did not show significant differences between the cases and controls. Moreover, a positive correlation between CVI and vessel density in the deep capillary plexus in the macular area (VD-DCP-MAC) was found. CONCLUSION: The systemic disease due to COVID-19 can also involve the retina and choroid with multiple mechanisms: ischemic and inflammatory. Our study showed changes in perfusion occurring in the eyes of patients with a recent hospitalization for COVID-19 complicated with pneumonia and without any possible ocular effect due to the vaccines. There is still the need to better comprise how long COVID-19 actually affects vascular changes in the eye.