To explore the associations of macular microvascular parameters with cerebral small vessel disease (CSVD) in rural-dwelling older adults in China.
This population-based cross-sectional study included 195 participants (age ≥ 60 years; 57.4% women) in the optical coherence tomographic angiography (OCTA) sub-study within the Multimodal Interventions to delay Dementia and disability in rural China (MIND-China). Macular microvascular parameters were measured using the OCTA. We automatically estimated volumes of gray matter, white matter, and white matter hyperintensity (WMH), and manually assessed numbers of enlarged perivascular spaces (EPVS) and lacunes on brain magnetic resonance imaging. Data were analyzed with the general linear models.
Adjusting for multiple confounders, lower vessel skeleton density (VSD) and higher vessel diameter index (VDI) were significantly associated with larger WMH volume (P < 0.05). Lower VSD and foveal density-300 (FD-300) of left eye were significantly associated with lower brain parenchymal volume (P < 0.05). In addition, lower areas of foveal avascular zone (FAZ) and FD-300 of left eye were significantly associated with more EPVS (P < 0.05). The associations of abnormal macular microvascular parameters with WMH volume were evident mainly among females. Macular microvascular parameters were not associated with lacunes.
Macular microvascular signs are associated with WMH, brain parenchymal volume, and EPVS in older adults. The OCTA-assessed macular microvascular parameters can be valuable markers for microvascular lesions in the brain.