AIMS To analyse the histopathology of vascularised pigment epithelial detachments and tears of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) in age related macular degeneration (AMD).
METHODS The light microscopic architecture of 10 surgically removed subretinal specimens—three vascularised pigment epithelial detachments, four recent tears, and three scarred tears as a manifestation of AMD—were studied and correlated with the angiographic findings.
RESULTS Recent tears: a large fibrovascular membrane was found to be originally situated in Bruch's membrane. About half of the surface of the fibrovascular tissue was denuded of RPE and diffuse drusen. The RPE and diffuse drusen had retracted and rolled up, covering a neighbouring part of the intra-Bruch's fibrovascular membrane. The rolled up RPE and diffuse drusen were not interspersed with fibrovascular tissue but lay superficial to the intra-Bruch's fibrovascular membrane itself. Scarred tears: a collagen capsule surrounded the rolled up diffuse drusen and RPE. Fibrovascular tissue was found inside the rolled up material, predominantly at its choroidal side.
CONCLUSION The area of choroidal neovascularisation associated with a vascularised pigment epithelial detachment and a tear of the RPE may be larger than was hitherto thought or indicated by fluorescein angiography. This neovascular tissue may be present within the bed of the RPE tear, as well as at the site of the scrolled up RPE.
- age related macular degeneration
- choroidal neovascularisation
- pigment epithelial detachment
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