Relationship between retinal morphological findings and visual function in age-related macular degeneration

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Abstract

Background

We aimed to study the retinal morphological findings associated with exudative age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and their association with visual prognosis.

Methods

We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of 96 consecutive patients (96 eyes) with exudative AMD. Retinal structural changes were examined using optical coherence tomography (OCT).

Results

Initial OCT examination showed cystoid macular edema in 18 eyes (18.8%), fibrin exudate in 56 eyes (58.3%), and hyperreflective foci within the neurosensory retina in 78 eyes (81.3%). Upon initial examination, an external limiting membrane (ELM) line was detected under the fovea in 64 eyes (66.7%). Using Pearson’s correlation analyses, final visual acuity (VA) was correlated with initial VA (r = 0.61, p < 0.001), age (r = 0.34, p < 0.001), initial total foveal thickness (r = 0.41, p < 0.001), presence of hyperreflective foci (r = 0.40, p < 0.001), and detection of a foveal ELM line (r = 0.55, p < 0.001). After multiple regression analysis, final VA correlated with initial VA (r = 0.48, p < 0.001), initial presence of hyperreflective foci (r = 0.23, p = 0.054), and detection of a foveal ELM line (r = 0.36, p = 0.008).

Conclusions

In eyes with exudative AMD, final VA was most correlated with initial VA. In addition, the initial integrity of the foveal outer retina was partially correlated with the visual prognosis. The initial ELM condition was associated with good final VA, while the initial presence of hyperreflective foci in the foveal neurosensory retina was associated with poor final VA.