Aim To characterise the presence of a hyperautofluorescent (HAF) ring associated with choroidal neovascularisation (CNV) complex in patients with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Methods Fundus autofluorescence images and spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (OCT) scans from 362 eyes with wet AMD were reviewed. The presence and size of an HAF ring associated with the CNV complex was evaluated. A subgroup of 64 treatment-naive eyes with new-onset CNV was studied to analyse the relationship between pretreatment OCT characteristics and the presence of the HAF ring.
Results An HAF ring was present in 38% of the entire cohort of eyes and in 39% of treatment-naive eyes. The presence of the HAF ring was significantly correlated with the extent of baseline subretinal fluid (SRF) on OCT (p=0.0113), the number of antivascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) injections (p=0.0439) and the number of treatment cycles (p=0.0154). Eyes with an HAF ring were more likely to have disruption of the ellipsoid zone line once the SRF was resolved compared with eyes without an HAF ring (p=0.0002). In multivariate analysis, the best predictors for HAF ring were the baseline area of SRF (p=0.0449) and the number of anti-VEGF treatments received (p=0.0568).
Conclusions Nearly 40% of wet AMD eyes had an HAF ring. In treatment-naive eyes, the HAF ring had a significant association with SRF and was found as early as the baseline measurement and as long as 18 months after beginning treatment, persisting for up to 6 years after the initial diagnosis. Its association with baseline SRF and disruption of the ellipsoid zone line of the photoreceptors on OCT could indicate continuous stress on the outer retinal structures after exposure to prolonged SRF and/or transmitted autofluorescence from loss of the photoreceptors overlying the retinal pigment epithelium.