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Article
October 1990

Relationship of Drusen and Abnormalities of the Retinal Pigment Epithelium to the Prognosis of Neovascular Macular Degeneration

Author Affiliations

From The Wilmer Ophthalmological Institute, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1990;108(10):1442-1447. doi:10.1001/archopht.1990.01070120090035
Abstract

• We graded macular features of 127 fellow eyes of participants in the Macular Photocoagulation Study who had an extrafoveal choroidal neovascular membrane secondary to age-related macular degeneration in the first eye and no initial evidence of the neovascular form of age-related macular degeneration in the fellow eye. Our aims were to determine the relationship of drusen characteristics and retinal pigment epithelial abnormalities to the risk of subsequent development of neovascularization in the fellow eye and the risk of subsequent development of recurrent neovascular membranes after photocoagulation in the first eye. Regression analysis demonstrated that the presence of large drusen and focal hyperpigmentation of the retinal pigment epithelium were independent risk factors for the subsequent development of neovascularization in the fellow eye (relative risk, 2.4 and 2.5, respectively). Only 10% of eyes with no large drusen or any retinal pigment epithelial hyperpigmentation compared with 58% of eyes with both large drusen and retinal pigment epithelial hyperpigmentation developed neovascularization in the fellow eye within 5 years. Using multivariate Cox regression analysis, we noted that the risk of developing recurrent neovascular membranes in the first eye was significantly increased when large drusen (relative risk, 2.8) were noted in the fellow eye at the time of laser treatment in the first eye. Fundus features in the fellow eye appear to help identify patients at high risk of developing visual loss from recurrent neovascular membranes following laser treatment in the first eye and from development of a neovascular membrane in the fellow eye.

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