Aim To examine associations between retinal thickness and rod-mediated dark adaptation in older adults with non-exudative age-related maculopathy (ARM) or normal macular health.
Methods A cross-sectional study was conducted with 74 adults ≥50 years old from the comprehensive ophthalmology and retina services of an academic eye centre. ARM presence and disease severity in the enrolment eye was defined by the masked grading of stereofundus photos using the Clinical Age-Related Maculopathy grading system. High-definition, spectral-domain optical coherence tomography was used to estimate retinal thickness in a grid of regions in the macula. Rod-mediated dark adaptation, recovery of light sensitivity after a photo-bleach, was measured over a 20-min period for a 500 nm target presented at 5° on the inferior vertical meridian. Main outcomes of interest were retinal thickness in the macula (μm) and parameters of rod-mediated dark adaptation (second slope, third slope, average sensitivity, final sensitivity).
Results In non-exudative disease retinal thickness was decreased in greater disease severity; thinner retina was associated with reductions in average and final rod-mediated sensitivity even after adjustment for age and visual acuity.
Conclusions Impairment in rod-mediated dark adaptation in non-exudative ARM is associated with macular thinning.
- Age-related maculopathy
- dark adaptation
- rod photoreceptors
- optical coherence tomography
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Funding This research was supported by National Institutes of Health grants R01-AG04212 and R21-EY14071, the EyeSight Foundation of Alabama, Research to Prevent Blindness, the Alfreda J. Schueler Trust, and the Able Trust.
Competing interests CO is a patent holder on the technology used to measure dark adaptation in this study.
Patient consent Obtained.
Ethics approval This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of the University of Alabama at Birmingham and adhered to the tenets of the Declaration of Helsinki.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.