Background To analyse multimodal imaging alterations in the subclinical form of best vitelliform macular dystrophy (BVMD).
Methods The study was designed as an observational, cross-sectional case series. Eleven eyes of 7 subclinical patients with BVMD and 12 age-matched and sex-matched controls were included. Multimodal imaging included fundus blue-light autofluorescence, near-infrared autofluorescence (NIR-AF), structural optical coherence tomography (OCT) and OCT angiography (OCTA). The quantitative analysis included the calculation of the following parameters: vessel density (VD), vessel tortuosity (VT), vessel dispersion (Vdisp), vessel rarefaction (VR), foveal avascular zone (FAZ) area, reflectivity of the outer retinal bands and choriocapillaris porosity (CCP).
Results Mean best-corrected visual acuity was 0.0±0.0 LogMAR in both groups. The round central hypoautofluorescent alteration on NIR-AF corresponded to a significant reflectivity attenuation of the outer retinal bands on structural OCT (0.55±0.18 vs 0.75±0.08; p<0.001). VD, VT, VR and Vdisp were normal compared with controls (all p>0.05). The FAZ area turned out to be significantly restricted at the level of the deep capillary plexus in subclinical BVMD eyes (p<0.001). Furthermore, quantitative OCTA revealed a significant central increase of CCP, compared with controls (18.25±2.43 vs 4.58±1.36; p<0.001).
Conclusions The subclinical stage of BVMD is characterised by significant alterations of the outer retinal bands and the choriocapillaris. Quantitative multimodal imaging assessment suggests that subclinical BVMD is affected by the functional impairment of the outer retinal structures, leading to an alteration in melanin and growth factor production.
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Contributors MBP and AA contributed to study design, data acqusitions, data analysis, data interpretation and manuscript draft. AC and EA contributed to data analysis and statistical analysis. FB contributed to data interpretation, manuscript revision and study supervision.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests FB consultant for Alcon (Fort Worth, Texas, USA), Alimera Sciences (Alpharetta, Georgia, USA), Allergan (Irvine, California, USA), Farmila-Thea (Clermont-Ferrand, France), Bayer Shering-Pharma (Berlin, Germany), Bausch and Lomb (Rochester, New York, USA), Genentech (San Francisco, California, USA), Hoffmann-La-Roche (Basel, Switzerland), NovagaliPharma (Évry, France), Novartis (Basel, Switzerland), Sanofi-Aventis (Paris, France), Thrombogenics (Heverlee, Belgium), Zeiss (Dublin, USA).
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Ethics approval The study was approved by the Ethical Committee of San Raffaele Hospital (protocol ID: MIRD2016).
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.
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