PURPOSE: In diabetic macular edema (DME), the correlation between visual acuity (VA) and central subfield thickness (CST) is weak. We hypothesize that fluid volume (FV) in the inner nuclear layer (INL) may correlate more strongly with VA. DESIGN: Retrospective, cross-sectional study. METHODS: One eye each of diabetic patients with DME was included. We measured intraretinal fluid volume that was detected by automated fluid detection algorithm on 3- × 3-mm optical coherence tomography angiogram volume scans. The detected fluid was subdivided into inner FV, bounded by the INL, and outer FV, the fluid between the outer border of INL to the ellipsoid zone. RESULTS: We enrolled 125 patients with DME (60 women; mean age, 61 years). The mean detected inner FV was 0.013 mm3 in 109 eyes (87%). The mean detected outer FV was 0.042 mm3 in 124 eyes (99%). Univariate analysis demonstrated that the VA significantly correlated with the inner FV (P < .0001), whole macular FV (P = .010), and CST (P = .036). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that the inner FV was the only significant factor (β = −0.41, P = .004). These correlations were consistent when the treatment-naïve group (n = 33) and the eyes without previous laser treatments (n = 93) were analyzed separately. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of inner FV for VA of 20/32 or worse was significantly higher than that for CST (0.66 vs 0.54, P = .018). CONCLUSIONS: The inner FV has a stronger association with VA than other OCT biomarkers in DME and may be more clinically useful.
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