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Subjective and functional deterioration in recurrences of neovascular AMD are often preceded by morphologic changes in optic coherence tomography
  1. Robert Hoerster,
  2. Philipp S Muether,
  3. Manuel M Hermann,
  4. Konrad Koch,
  5. Bernd Kirchhof,
  6. Sascha Fauser
  1. Centre of Ophthalmology, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Philipp S Muether, Department of Vitreoretinal Surgery, Center of Ophthalmology, University of Cologne, Kerpener Strasse 62, 50924 Cologne, Germany; philmuether{at}


Background Different tests were applied to test the sensitivity of patient self-control; Amsler grid and visual acuity (VA) assessment, as well as fundus examinations to reveal recurrent choroidal neovascularisation (CNV) activity in age-related macular degeneration as detected by spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) in monthly controls.

Methods A prospective interventional case series of patients with exudative age-related macular degeneration was examined, which received ranibizumab injections until complete resolution of fluid in SD-OCT. Analysis of changes in subjective perception, Amsler grid, early treatment diabetic retinopathy study (ETDRS) VA, Radner reading VA and fundus examination was conducted in the case of OCT-confirmed CNV recurrences.

Results Out of 40 morphological recurrences determined by SD-OCT, six (15%) were noticed by subjective patient perception. Amsler grid testing revealed deterioration in 12 cases (30%); 11 recurrences (28%) were accompanied by loss of ≥5 letters in ETDRS VA and/or ≥1 line in Radner VA; fundus examination showed signs of novel CNV activity in 10 out of 40 recurrences (25%). The combined sensitivity of all diagnostic methods compared to SD-OCT for recurrence detection was 67.5% (27 out of 40 recurrences).

Conclusion Subjective patient perception, Amsler grid, VA as well as fundus examination lead to pronounced underestimations of CNV recurrences. Morphologic recurrences can be detected prior to functional deterioration. As any delay of treatment can result in irreversible vision loss, attempts should be made to provide monthly OCT controls to detect recurrences as early as possible.

  • Wet macular degeneration
  • optical coherence tomography
  • visual acuity, neovascularisation
  • treatment medical
  • visual perception

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  • RH and PSM contributed equally to this work.

  • Funding Supported by the Koeln Fortune Program/Faculty of Medicine, University of Cologne.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.