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Development of atrophy of the retinal pigment epithelium around disciform scars
  1. J Sarks1,
  2. K Tang2,
  3. M Killingsworth3,
  4. J Arnold4,
  5. S Sarks1
  1. 1Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute, Randwick, Sydney, Australia
  2. 2Dudley Hospital, Orange, Australia
  3. 3South Western Area Pathology Services, Sydney, Australia
  4. 4Marsden Eye Centre, Sydney, Australia
  1. Correspondence to: John Sarks Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute, Randwick, Sydney, NSW, Australia; jssarks{at}bigpond.net.au

Abstract

Background/aims: Eyes with burnt out disciform scars secondary to age related macular degeneration (AMD) are regarded as visually stable. The aim of this study is to report the subsequent development of atrophy of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) around the scars and discuss the possible basis.

Methods: 20 eyes from 18 patients were observed to develop atrophy around choroidal neovascularisation (CNV). A method of measuring expansion of the atrophy over time is described using the Topcon Imagenet 2000 system. An additional 10 clinicopathological examples were reviewed.

Results: Clinically CNV became surrounded initially by a ring of pallor that progressed to an expanding band of atrophy of the RPE. It developed most rapidly in the first 3 years after CNV became quiescent but then continued to expand slowly to more than three times the size of the scar. Histopathological specimens showed large choroidal vessels entering the scars directly and a reduced number of small choroidal vessels beneath and around the scar

Conclusions: Disciform scars may become surrounded by an expanding band of atrophy of the RPE, postulated to result from remodelling of the choroidal circulation. The ongoing enlargement of the resulting scotoma may need to be considered when planning management and assessing treatment outcomes.

  • AMD, age related macular degeneration
  • CNV, choroidal neovascularisation
  • GA, geographic atrophy
  • PED, pigment epithelial detachment
  • RPE, retinal pigment epithelium
  • choroidal neovascularisation
  • geographic atrophy
  • AMD, age related macular degeneration
  • CNV, choroidal neovascularisation
  • GA, geographic atrophy
  • PED, pigment epithelial detachment
  • RPE, retinal pigment epithelium
  • choroidal neovascularisation
  • geographic atrophy

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Footnotes

  • The study protocol was approved by the University of New South Wales Human Research Ethics Committee.

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