AIMS: To study the incidence and possible cause of abnormalities of the subfoveal choriocapillaris after surgical excision of subfoveal choroidal neovascularisation in age-related macular degeneration (ARMD). METHODS: The postoperative fluorescein angiograms and colour photographs of 29 eyes of 29 patients were reviewed after surgical excision of subfoveal choroidal neovascularisation in exudative ARMD. Preoperative and postoperative fluorescein angiograms were examined for perfusion of the subfoveal choriocapillaris. The excised subfoveal choroidal neovascular membranes from eight eyes that demonstrated postoperative abnormalities of the choriocapillaris were embedded in paraffin, serially sectioned and examined for the presence of the choriocapillaris. RESULTS: Postoperative fluorescein angiograms revealed abnormal perfusion of the subfoveal choriocapillaris in 26 of the 29 eyes (90%) and in all eight eyes that had histopathological examination of the surgical specimens. Examination of serial sections demonstrated that none of the excised neovascular membranes contained choriocapillaris. CONCLUSIONS: Abnormal perfusion of the subfoveal choriocapillaris was frequently present following removal of the subfoveal neovascular membrane in ARMD. The histopathological study demonstrated that abnormalities of the choriocapillaris were not due to removal of the choriocapillaris at the time of surgery.
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