Color Doppler imaging of the retrobulbar vessels in diabetic retinopathy
J Ultrason 2014; 14: 28–35
DOI: 10.15557/JoU.2014.0003

Diabetes is a metabolic disease characterized by elevated blood glucose level due to impaired insulin secretion and activity. Chronic hyperglycemia leads to functional disorders of numerous organs and to their damage. Vascular lesions belong to the most common late complications of diabetes. Microangiopathic lesions can be found in the eyeball, kidneys and nervous system. Macroangiopathy is associated with coronary and peripheral vessels. Diabetic retinopathy is the most common microangiopathic complication characterized by closure of slight retinal blood vessels and their permeability. Despite intensive research, the pathomechanism that leads to the development and progression of diabetic retinopathy is not fully understood. The examinations used in assessing diabetic retinopathy usually involve imaging of the vessels in the eyeball and the retina. Therefore, the examinations include: fluorescein angiography, optical coherence tomography of the retina, B-mode ultrasound imaging, perimetry and digital retinal photography. There are many papers that discuss the correlations between retrobulbar circulation alterations and progression of diabetic retinopathy based on Doppler sonography. Color Doppler imaging is a non-invasive method enabling measurements of blood flow velocities in small vessels of the eyeball. The most frequently assessed vessels include: the ophthalmic artery, which is the first branch of the internal carotid artery, as well as the central retinal vein and artery, and the posterior ciliary arteries. The analysis of hemodynamic alterations in the retrobulbar vessels may deliver important information concerning circulation in diabetes and help to answer the question whether there is a relation between the progression of diabetic retinopathy and the changes observed in blood flow in the vessels of the eyeball. This paper presents the overview of literature regarding studies on blood flow in the vessels of the eyeball in patients with diabetic retinopathy.

Key words: diabetes complications, diabetic retinopathy, color Doppler ultrasonography, pulsed Doppler ultrasonography, ophthalmic artery