To compare in vivo burn morphologic features and healing responses of Pascal 20- and 100-millisecond panretinal photocoagulation (PRP) burns in proliferative diabetic retinopathy.
Prospective randomized controlled trial with 24 eyes assigned to either 20- or 100-millisecond Pascal PRP. Fundus autofluorescence and Fourier domain optical coherence tomography (FD-OCT) were performed 1 hour and 2 and 4 weeks after treatment. Main outcome measures included burn morphologic features on FD-OCT and greatest linear diameter (GLD) of laser burns as evaluated in 6 standard Early Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy Study photographic fields using autofluorescence.
The contemporaneous increase in autofluorescence is observed with increasing pulse duration. Differences in mean GLD between 100- and 20-millisecond burns were 63 μm at 1 hour and 198 μm at 4 weeks (P < .001 for both). At 4 weeks, all burns corresponded to defects at the junction of inner and outer segments of photoreceptors (JI/OSP) and apical retinal pigment epithelium. After 4 weeks, the GLD of 20-millisecond burns reduced significantly by 35% (P < .001), with no change in 100-millisecond burns.
All burns initially appear as equivalent square-edged, columnar foci of hyperreflectivity in the outer retina. Pascal 20-millisecond burns progressively reduce in size, and this suggests a novel healing response localized to the JI/OSP and apical retinal pigment epithelium. The higher-fluence 100-millisecond burns develop larger defects due to thermal blooming and collateral damage.